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FEDERATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ISSUES ADVICE ON SICK LEAVE

 FEDERATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ISSUES ADVICE ON SICK LEAVE
 NEW YORK, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Independent Federation of Flight Attendants (IFFA) today issued advice to its 5,000 flight attendant members at Trans World Airlines of their contractual right to call off sick, during the holiday season or at any other time, if they are too ill to work.
 IFFA's action came in response to a TWA Newsgram issued to all flight attendants threatening discharge of any flight attendant calling off sick.
 "TWA is operating so short-staffed that the only way it gets by is to intimidate our members into working when they're ill," said IFFA Director of Safety and Health Mary Ellen Miller. She denied any job action by any members but added, "with what this airline has put us through for the past five years, it is not surprising that some company officials might anticipate a job action."
 In 1986, the union conducted a 70-day strike following TWA's unilateral imposition of 22 percent pay cuts and numerous other working conditions. IFFA litigation has resulted in federal court judgments upholding IFFA claims of liability estimated at some $100 million.
 Miller said that flight attendants are particularly upset over a TWA policy that discharges members for legitimate use of their sick leave benefits. "It is appalling that, in a high risk - high exposure job, our members can be fired for the flu, pneumonia, and even a broken leg or cancer," she commented, adding that "this is the only way that TWA can continue to operate at low staffing levels."
 Noting a Dec. 20 USA Today report that 3 of every 4 households are affected by colds, flu, bronchitis or pneumonia, Miller said that the union has no alternative but to assure its members, in the interest of their health and that of passengers, that they should call off if sick.
 The following was issued by John Krause, vice president, in-flight services of Trans World Airlines:
 Flight Attendant Newsgram
 As we enter this busy holiday season, let me take the opportunity to extend my very best wishes to each and every one of you. The busy airports and holiday travelers depend on our many dedicated employees to ensure a safe and memorable journey. I am confident that the vast majority of in-flight service representatives will continue to be a positive influence on the future of TWA. However, I am concerned about the flight attendants who are being encouraged by the IFFA to call in sick for their assigned flights over the Christmas holidays.
 Be advised that flight attendants who do call off their flights claiming personal illness or industrial injury over the next two weeks will be required to substantiate their illness or injury with a doctor's certificate. Failure to properly substantiate the illness or injury may result in discipline up to and including termination from employment for abuse of sick leave privileges.
 I am not sure I understand why the IFFA leadership continues to believe that the alienation of passengers, loss of ticket revenue and wide scale interruption of flight assignments for working crew members, will result in a new contract or have anything but a negative impact on our future.
 For those of you who are forced to endure hardships over the holidays, I apologize. For those of you who have legitimate illnesses and feel like you are caught in the middle, I also apologize. I do not enjoy arguing against or dealing with what I consider to be an irrational job action. However, I also do not intend to let the actions of a few destroy everything we have been fighting for these last few years.
 On behalf of everyone in in-flight services, I thank you for your continued support and commitment to TWA's future. Best wishes for the holiday season.
 The following letter was sent by Victoria Frankovich of the IFFA to John Krause:
 I have this date received a copy of a "Flight Attendant Newsgram" bearing your signature, and assume it was distributed to all flight attendants. I am dismayed that you would engage in such threatening conduct at the very time representatives of TWA and IFFA have been working feverishly, night and day, in an effort to reach an amicable settlement of the many serious disputes that have divided us for the past five years.
 You should be aware that IFFA has taken no action to even remotely suggest that flight attendants, who are not ill, call off duty on sick leave. Your campaign of intimidation is clearly designed to inhibit those who are ill from using their contractually earned sick leave benefits for fear of discipline/discharge for doing so.
 Your precipitous actions leave us with no alternative but to advise flight attendants that they should not be intimidated from calling off, if in fact they are sick and should not be flying.
 In this winter and holiday season, when stress is high and flu epidemics are rampant, we fear that flight attendants who are ill will feel compelled to jeopardize their health and that of the flying public by working. IFFA considers it an obligation to advise flight attendants that this is not the case.
 Moreover, we must notify flight attendants that your threat to require substantiation of illness or injury by doctor's certificate, under threat of discipline/discharge for abuse of sick leave, is prohibited by the IFFA-TWA agreement and agreed-upon resolution of such unsuccessful efforts by TWA in the past.
 It is unfortunate that you have required IFFA to communicate with the flight attendants to set the record straight. Perhaps, in the future, you might choose to discuss concerns that you might have regarding flight attendants with the IFFA leadership.
 -0- 12/23/91
 /CONTACT: Mary Ellen Miller, IFFA Director Safety and Health at 816-229-3358 and 816-822-1263, or Bill Hoffman, vice president IFFA, 212-818-1130/ CO: Independent Federation of Flight Attendants ST: New York IN: AIR SU:


KD-FC -- NY046 -- 4857 12/23/91 13:15 EST
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Date:Dec 23, 1991
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