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Flight attendants settle at USAir.

Negotiators for USAir and the Association of Flight Attendants ended 12 days of marathon bargaining sessions with agreement on a 45-month labor contract, covering some 9,000 flight attendants nationwide. The major sticking points in negotiations were the carrier's proposals to cut wage rates temporarily, force new employees to contribute to health care costs and pension funding, and extract other cost-saving measures.

Negotiations began in the summer of 1989 to replace a contract that became amendable in August of that year. The talks were conducted under the Railway Labor Act, the Federal law that governs collective bargaining in the airline industry. The settlement was reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, the Federal agency that administers the act.

The pact called for 1-year wage cuts of up to 2.9 percent for senior (A-scale) flight attendants and of less than 1 percent for less senior (B-scale) flight attendants, followed by wage increases in April 1994, January 1995, and January 1996 that would raise USAIR flight attendants' pay to industry standards. In addition, the contract would halt the longevity progression for senior flight attendants at their current step for 1 year, end add a 14th step to their progression after that year.

The contract also established a managed health care plan identical to the one negotiated by the Pilots and Machinists, the two other unions at the carrier, with employee contributions of $38 a month for participants for family coverage and $107 a month for nonparticipants. The terms also included new stock-option and profit-sharing plans to compensate flight attendants for the 1-year pay and benefit cuts; use of the highest earnings in 3 of the last 10 years, instead of only the last year, to compute pension benefits; an agreement to allow pregnant flight attendants to continue working until a doctor certifies disability; and a 9-month moratorium on imposing the carrier's weight restrictions policy.

US Air had settled in 1992 with the Air Line Pilots Association and the Machinists. The parties traded off similar cost-saving measures, such as 1-year wage cuts, benefit contributions, and work rules changes, for enhanced job security and stock-option and profit-sharing plans. (See Monthly Labor Review, August 1992, pp. 60-61 and January 1993, p. 28.)
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Title Annotation:collective bargaining agreement
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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