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ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT NEGOTIATIONS ENTER 30-DAY COOLING-OFF PERIOD

 WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Flight Attendants issued the following:
 Negotiations between Alaska Airlines and its flight attendants entered a 30-day "cooling-off" period today. The National Mediation Board (NMB) started the 30-day countdown after talks between the company and the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, reached a stalemate.
 "Negotiations broke down over the company's increasing demands for concessions," said Gail Bigelow, AFA president at the airline. "This airline's success has been built on the professionalism of the flight attendants. We've gone without a negotiated pay increase for years to help the company grow. Now they want huge cuts in our pensions, medical benefits and work rules."
 Alaska Airlines management is seeking to take control of the flight attendants' $35 million pension fund. Under the company's proposal, a large share of the investment profits from the fund would go to the company, reducing the return to the flight attendants' pension accounts. This fund is the flight attendants' sole company-funded retirement vehicle.
 Flight attendants have not had a negotiated pay raise since 1986. Under the company's proposals, flight attendants would lose further ground, with increased costs to the employee for medical insurance exceeding proposed pay increases. Cuts to the medical plan include doubling the deductibles, doubling out-of-pocket maximums and co-payment of premiums by the employees.
 Other concessions demanded by Alaska Air management include a cut in vacation pay and elimination of cost-of-living adjustments for time worked in the state of Alaska. Concessions sought by the company on work rules would essentially diminish a flight attendant's work schedule flexibility.
 "We are still hopeful that an agreement can be reached before the cooling-off period ends, so that a strike or some other work action will not be necessary," said Bigelow. AFA plans to conduct a strike authorization vote among the Alaska Air flight attendants beginning next week.
 Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs negotiations in the airline industry, the NMB offered to submit the remaining issues to binding arbitration. The company rejected the "proffer of arbitration," triggering the start of the cooling-off period.
 AFA is the world's largest flight attendant union, representing 33,000 flight attendants at 21 carriers.
 -0- 5/20/93
 /CONTACT: David Melancon of the Association of Flight Attendants, 202-328-5400/


CO: Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO; Alaska Airlines ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:

DC-IH -- DC012 -- 0719 05/20/93 11:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 20, 1993
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