Passengers Warned To Expect "CHAOS"... Or Worse
New union... old vote.
For the second time in as many attempts, flight attendants at
Northwest Airlines voted to reject a tentative agreement aimed at
cutting costs for the bankrupt airline... by cutting pay.
Representatives with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
(AFA-CWA) said Monday a majority of flight attendants voted to
reject the agreement, by a margin of 3,266 to 2,637.
"Our members refuse to watch more than 40 percent of our wages
and benefits get funneled into company profits and executive
bonuses. It is simply not necessary and will not be tolerated,"
said Mollie Reiley, AFA-CWA Interim Master Executive Council
As Aero-News reported, AFA-CWA reached the tentative agreement
10 days after being elected as the new collective bargaining
representative for Northwest flight attendants, replacing the
Professional Flight Attendants Association. Prior to AFA-CWA
entering negotiations, a federal bankruptcy judge ordered that cost
savings must equal at least $195 million for five years. AWA also
states the court established the terms of the previous tentative
agreement as the starting point for the latest round of
The latest vote opens the door for the imposition of a new
contract penned by Northwest. Under a previous court order, that
contract is set to be imposed Tuesday... over the objections of the
"The tentative agreement was a product of nearly
around-the-clock negotiations involving substantial compromise on
the part of both parties," said Mike Becker, senior vice president
of human resources and labor relations. "We reached a consensual
agreement with the new union recently chosen by our flight
attendants and had hoped that Northwest flight attendants would
ratify the agreement."
Becker added Northwest
"must continue to move forward with its restructuring efforts. As
previously approved by the court, we now are implementing new
contract terms and conditions for our flight attendants which are
consistent with the judge's order and with the March 1 tentative
contract agreement which was not ratified. This action will result
in the required $195 million in annual savings."
AFA's Reiley said if Northwest implements their contract... that
passengers will likely be greeted with "CHAOS" -- or "Create Havoc
Around Our System," the AFA-CWA's trademarked strategy of targeted
work actions using random, unannounced strikes.
"Our members have spoken: these drastic cuts to our pay,
benefits and work rules are simply unacceptable," said Reiley.
"While we will attempt to go back to the negotiating table with the
company, we continue preparing for CHAOS."
The union states that if Northwest management goes ahead and
imposes contract changes without the flight attendants' consent,
AFA-CWA can either call for CHAOS, or, an all-out strike...
which would likely cripple the airline, and cause 'chaos'
throughout the entire air travel network.
Stay tuned. Things could get real interesting, real soon.