Leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA-CWA), representing nearly 21,000 flight attendants at United Airlines, US Airways and the former America West, responded to speculation about a potential merger between their airlines. Greg Davidowitch, AFA-CWA President at United, Lisa LeCarre, AFA-CWA President at America West, and Mike Flores, AFA-CWA President at US Airways, issued the following statement:
“The notion of joining together two airlines in turmoil is absurd. The track record of management at each of our airlines is abysmal. For nearly five years CEO Doug Parker has failed to negotiate a joint flight attendant contract, continuing to operate the airlines separately with disparate treatment of flight attendants at each former airline. Parker has left merger issues unresolved all this time, which hardly qualifies him to consider the possibility of another merger.
“CEO Glenn Tilton has been clamoring for a merger at any price since he first arrived at United Airlines eight years ago. Flight Attendants have expressed no confidence in Tilton to run the airline and they have actively sought his removal as CEO for two years. This, all against the backdrop of record low labor relations due to unresolved contract negotiations, outsourcing of flight attendant jobs, cuts to staffing and flight attendants continuing to struggle from cuts forced during United’s 38-month bankruptcy while executives are awarded millions of dollars in bonuses each year.
“A merger of any kind is inherently risky and a complex business transaction. To even consider a merger, there must be an underlying rationale and an accord with flight attendants. Today there is no evidence of either. We direct each management group to focus on the current issues at our airlines. Good labor relations are critical to running airlines where flight attendants want to come to work and passengers want to fly.
“In order for any merger to be successful, it will need to have the support of flight attendants. Without our support a successful merger will be impossible. Our current management needs to address the problems they have created at each airline before contemplating any other joint venture. Unless meaningful and immediate action is taken to resolve the outstanding road blocks to success at each of our airlines, flight attendants’ issues will become real and significant obstacles in the path of any merger.”
More than 55,000 flight attendants, including the 21,000 flight attendants at United and US Airways, join together to form AFA-CWA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. AFA-CWA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.unitedafa.org, www.afa66.org and www.afausairways.org.