21,000 AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANTS REACT ANGRILY TO MANAGEMENT CONCESSION DEMANDS; 'LIKE THROWING A MATCH INTO A POOL OF KEROSENE'
DALLAS, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- With a critical Labor Day contract target date approaching, negotiators for American Airlines may have handed its flight attendant's union a last-minute advantage yesterday with the issuance and widespread public distribution of an 18-page "Framework for Settlement." "We've received so many angry calls from flight attendants today that our automated telephone and voice mail systems have gone into overload," said Denise Hedges, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). "What management did was like throwing a match into a pool of kerosene." On Aug. 17, federal mediator Harry Bickford adjourned the negotiations to allow management to prepare its first comprehensive settlement package and called both bargaining teams back to the table on Aug. 25. On Aug. 30, after what the union calls a "five day stall," American negotiators finally made their presentation. Within 24 hours, without giving the union a chance to make a counter proposal, management distributed a summary of its settlement offer directly to individual flight attendants. "Our people are incensed at the proposal as well as the process," Hedges said. "Management is more interested in manipulating and undermining negotiations." According to the union, the management "Framework for Settlement" provides no pay raise on signing, only one raise during a five year period and asks for health benefit give-backs that would be the equivalent of a 4 percent pay cut. In exchange for this concession, the proposal offers a 4 percent "signing bonus," which does not increase rates of pay in future years and which the union calls a "bribe." The company proposal, according to APFA, also calls for a 30 percent reduction in vacation pay and days, expense levels that are less than those enjoyed by American Airlines pilots and United flight attendants, no improvements in retirement benefits and a "preferential bidding" system that would seriously erode current scheduling rights. "Ten years ago, we agreed to huge concessions and a two-tier pay scale in order to help American Airlines grow and become financially stable," Hedges said. "Since that time, American has grown into the biggest airline in the world, and our wages have declined 40 percent. It's not give back time, it's payback time." Hedges said the union will continue to press for a decent contract settlement through the end of the day next Monday. On Friday, Sept. 10, the union will hold satellite rallies in 12 cities to present to its members either an "industry-leading tentative agreement" or plans for an "industry-leading strike." The membership rallies -- in Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Nashville, Tenn., Raleigh/Durham, N.C., Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington -- will be open to the press. Rallies will be held the following Monday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Honolulu. -0- 9/3/93 /CONTACT: Ray Abernathy, 202-842-3100, or Randy Edwards, 800-395-APFA (2732), both for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants/
CO: Association of Professional Flight Attendants; American Airlines ST: Texas IN: AIR SU:
IH-DC -- DC006 -- 8779 09/03/93 11:00 EDT
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|Date:||Sep 3, 1993|
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