29-Oct-2010 11:12 AM

AirTran flight attendants file for mediation over 'marriage'

AirTran flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), filed (28-Oct-2010) for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB) after negotiations with the company broke down. Under the NMB's guidelines, either the union or management may request mediation if they believe they have reached an impasse. Southwest Airlines recently announced its intention to acquire AirTran. AFA-CWA stated that following the announcement of the acquisition by Southwest, AirTran management approached AFA-CWA requesting an abbreviated list of the flight attendants' greatest concerns in order to expedite negotiations. AFA-CWA stated: "When presented with the union's 'short list' proposal, the company responded with a counter-proposal consisting mostly of existing contract language and minimal pay increases. In addition, they failed to address the most basic work, duty and rest provisions."  [more]

AFA-CWA: "It is an interesting marriage. I was surprised by all the characterisations of AirTran as 'employee-centric' because we have certainly not witnessed that. For over three years, AFA-CWA has tried to work with management on negotiating a contract that adequately reflects the work and dedication we continue to provide to this airline. Management's failure to effectively manage resources and respect the quality-of-life issues are at the heart of our contract demands Just last Friday, Mr Fornaro asserted that he 'would like to enter into the relationship with Southwest with everything buttoned up'. Obviously, the company is not committed to getting an agreement with its flight attendants. AirTran flight attendants want a contract and will not sit idly by watching management drag this process on any longer. The flight attendants' contribution to the success of this airline cannot be ignored," Alison Head, AFA-CWA AirTran President. Source: Company Statement, 28-Oct-2010.

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