AFA-CWA Calls for Greater Employee Protections in United/Continental Merger

Jun 16, 2010, 10:00 ET from Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO

WASHINGTON, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Patricia A. Friend testified before two Congressional committees today on the impact that a merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines would have on flight attendants and other workers at the combined carrier. Before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation and the House Judiciary Committee, Friend reminded Congressional leaders that airline employees are the most vulnerable in merger situations, with the most to lose and the least protections.

"Since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, there has been little attention paid to the extreme upheaval that mergers create for the thousands of airline employees who find themselves unemployed or whose lives are disrupted," testified Friend. "Over the past 32 years, we have seen the end of extensive and specific protections – like displacement and relocation allowances, wage protections, transfer and seniority protections, layoff protection, and others – that helped shield workers from an unfair share of the burden resulting from corporate mergers."

In addition to leaving thousands of employees with little to no protection, current negotiations for the over 16,000 United flight attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, are also threatened. For almost six years, the United flight attendants have been working under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated while the company was in bankruptcy.

"If the focus of this hearing is on the possible effects for consumers - you only have to observe how United is treating its workers to understand how the passengers at the 'new' United may fare. The employees at United made deep sacrifices to keep the airline flying and it is imperative that current negotiations for United flight attendants be completed in some manner before this merger is finalized. Management needs to focus on protecting their employees in this merger and providing some economic relief now," added Friend.  

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 50,000 flight attendants at 22 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at 

SOURCE Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO