US Airways flight attendants, based in Phoenix and represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), will picket at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport on Friday, November 13, 2009, to protest management’s refusal to pay equal wages for equal work and their continued refusal to increase wage rates that have been frozen for seven years. The picket event will be held from 9:00-11:00 am, at Terminal 4, level 2, North side, west end.
As a result of the 2005 merger between America West and US Airways, America West flight attendants have seen wage rates frozen since 2002. While flight attendants of the merged US Airways perform the same work and wear the same uniforms, the former America West flight attendants’ wages are up to 40 percent less than their US Airways east counterparts.
“The flight attendants of the former America West Airlines have waited patiently for seven years for wage increases and contract improvements. We were patient even as the economy went south, and we struggled to pay our bills with wages that did not keep up with inflation,” said Lisa LeCarre, AFA-CWA US Airways president representing America West flight attendants. “It is reprehensible that US Airways management has left the flight attendants in the dust and refused to complete this merger with combined contracts that provide financial relief for flight attendants.”
Following the September 2005 merger between America West and US Airways, contract negotiations for wage increases specific to America West flight attendants were put on hold by the National Mediation Board (NMB) so the parties could focus on reaching a merged agreement covering all US Airways flight attendants. After four years of attempting to negotiate a single agreement, in April 2009, AFA-CWA requested that the NMB reconvene negotiations to bargain wage increases specific to former America West flight attendants.
“US Airways management continues to refuse cost-of-living increases, even as airline executives rake in millions in bonuses from the ‘success’ of the merger,” said LeCarre. “This disrespect and neglect has to stop now.”
AFA-CWA is pursuing a two-track strategy under the slogan “Equal Pay, Either Way.” Management must either promptly agree to a merged contract covering all US Airways flight attendants or agree to interim increases specific to America West flight attendants.