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Thu, Jan 09, 2003

United's FAs Take Pay Cut

...Not Entirely Pleased, but Willing to Help

United Airlines flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, agreed to make what the union called, "extraordinary" sacrifices Wednesday by ratifying an Interim Letter of Agreement with the airline that provides for a temporary nine percent cut in total flight attendant compensation.

The AFA United Master Executive Council recommended flight attendants vote "FOR" the agreement. Sixty-two percent of eligible flight attendants voted, with 94 percent of valid ballots cast "FOR" ratification of the agreement.

"This cut is very painful, especially since flight attendant compensation is so minimal to begin with," said United AFA MEC President Greg Davidowitch. "Flight attendants have once again shown that we are committed to seeing our airline successfully emerge from bankruptcy."

Glenn Tilton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of UAL, said, "We are grateful for the support the AFA membership has shown in voting for this agreement. We know this was a very difficult decision for them to make. The ratification by all four unions confirms what we have been hearing from employees throughout the company: That they are committed to United and ready to do the work that it will take to make this organization a long-term success. We look forward to continuing to meet and work with our unions to reach consensual agreements that will enable us to create a more durable and competitive business."

The nine percent interim cut in total flight attendant compensation will be accomplished through the elimination of COLA (cost of living) payments for the duration of the interim agreement, and an 8.16% reduction in base wage rates and all other pay factors including reserve override, understaffing pay, training pay, qualified and non-qualified purser pay, language qualified and language incentive pay, night pay, and ground pay.

Contingent on Other Unions' Cooperation

The interim agreement will become effective if the airline gets similar voluntary or court-mandated agreements on interim concessions with all other work groups at the airline. If all groups participate in providing interim relief through ratification or court order, United will be able to meet the strict requirements of its financers in the bankruptcy process earlier than expected, allowing the parties an extended period of negotiations over a final, comprehensive agreement on flight attendant participation in United's restructuring.

"United management has been less than forthcoming with the information necessary for our full participation in the airline's restructuring," Davidowitch said. "The flight attendants are willing to work with management to successfully restructure, but airline executives have to provide us with access to the information we need and with a clear plan and reasons for the changes they are requesting going forward.

"Recognizing the contributions of frontline employees is a key to this process because bankruptcy doesn't end well when the workers and management are not on the same page," said Davidowitch.

FMI: www.unitedafa.org

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