Thu, Sep 02, 2004
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
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.
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