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AFA Decries US Airways’ Finger-Pointing

The Association of Flight
Attendants- CWA strongly took issue with US Airways holding labor groups
responsible in part for its filing for bankruptcy yesterday.
“AFA was not surprised about the filing due to public comments the company
has made in recent weeks,” said Perry Hayes, president of the union’s
Master Executive Council at US Airways. “We were however surprised that
the company would actually lie in papers it filed with the U.S. bankruptcy

Despite management’s contention that it had been discussing its
transformation plan with labor groups for several months, AFA did not
receive a proposal from the company until August 17-18, and it took nearly
two weeks after that to provide a partial costing of that proposal. Even
now, flight attendants lack a complete costing of the company’s latest
proposal. “The company cannot expect any labor group to negotiate blindly
without the necessary information, which it alone controls,” Hayes said.

In contrast to management’s contention that it pursued negotiations “with
diligence and vigor,” the company elected to have one team of negotiators
to deal with AFA and the pilots’ union. “Once the company was engaged with
the Airline Pilots, we barely heard from them for a week,” said Hayes.
“That is ‘vigor and diligence?’”

AFA is urging US Airways to actually negotiate with the labor groups on
the property instead of performing the “cram-down” tactics of recent
weeks. If there is to be any chance of reaching consensual agreements with
employees, management will have to demonstrate it is intent on working
with labor. A big step would be to tell employees what sacrifices
management is willing to take, cut management salaries, increase
supervisor productivity and block the use of title changes and sham
promotions to gain increases, as happened during the last round of
concessionary talks.