AFA plots to unify all United Airlines flight attendants

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CHICAGO, Ill. – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) yesterday asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to declare that the United/Continental merger has created a single transportation system, triggering a representation election for the combined Flight Attendant workforce. If the NMB agrees, then a union election would be held to determine the collective bargaining representative. Over 15,000 United Flight Attendants already are represented by AFA.

“This merger and the extraordinary financial turnaround underway at United are only possible because Flight Attendants at both airlines have invested hard work and sacrifices over the years,” said Greg Davidowitch, AFA United President. “Management must know that the Flight Attendant workforce is unified, and that we expect the best Flight Attendant contract at the world’s leading airline. Joined together in AFA we can ensure Flight Attendants are full partners in the merger with compensation that reflects our key role in the success of the new United Airlines.”

Once the NMB declares that the merged airlines are operating as a single carrier, an election date will be set to determine if AFA will be the Flight Attendants’ exclusive bargaining agent for the combined Flight Attendant workforce. With approximately 24,000 Flight Attendants eligible to vote, the election will be among the largest ever conducted by the NMB, the federal agency charged with overseeing union elections and the collective bargaining process in the airline industry. The Flight Attendant contracts at United and Continental will remain in place after the vote. Prior to an operational merger management would be required to negotiate a single Flight Attendant contract that would be ratified by the combined Flight Attendant workforce.

“As the world’s largest Flight Attendant union, run by and for Flight Attendants, this is a wonderful opportunity to welcome our flying partners at Continental to AFA,” said Veda Shook, AFA International President. “AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession since a group of United Flight Attendants joined together in 1945 to create our union. Throughout the years, AFA has fought for and won major changes in our industry; we have transformed our profession, raising wages, benefits and working conditions and improving safety and security. In welcoming our Continental colleagues, we will continue to make great strides for Flight Attendants and their families.”

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.