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AirTran FA's To Hit Picket Line

After Negotiations Break Down

If you happen by Atlanta's Harsfield-Jackson International Airport Thursday you might just see a group of uniformed flight attendants walking in circles. FAs for AirTran are on the march after talks with the low-cost carrier broke down last week.

The Association of Flight Attendants represents about 1,200 AirTran employees. The union has now asked for federal mediation in the wake of the collapsed talks.

The FAs say they haven't had a raise since 2001. At AirTran, flight attendants say they make an average of $22,500 a year, compared to an industry average of $34,000. Last year, the FAs voted down a tentative agreement negotiated between the airline and union leadership. This time, the union refused to pass a private mediator's offer on to the rank and file.

"There were numerous, numerous items" that made the final proposal unacceptable, union vice president Joe Clark told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The pay rate suggested by the mediator was well below Southwest's new salaries. Southwest flight attendants recently accepted a 31-percent increase from the airline.

On top of the pay issue was AirTran's requirement that flight attendants to work as much as 13-hours a day, up from the 12 hours they work now.

FMI: www.afanet.org, www.airtrain.com

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