Monday, October 22, 2007
By CHERYL WITTENAUER, AP
Posted: 2007-10-22 16:13:20
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Former TWA flight attendants who are fighting to get their old jobs back have made a plea to American Airlines' chief executive officer. In an Oct. 15 letter, they asked CEO Gerard Arpey to reach an agreement with their union to extend the recall rights of workers who were furloughed as a result of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
American has discussed, but not come to an agreement with the union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, about extending recall rights, airline spokeswoman Tami McLallen said."We remain open to discussing this issue but are bound by the current collective bargaining agreement," she said.American recalled 460 ex-TWA flight attendants in August, but more than 400 will have their recall rights expire in November.
That's in addition to 1,500 flight attendants that American says already have lost their recall rights, including 663 former TWA flight attendants. The ex-TWA attendants say another 1,400 from their ranks will have their recall rights expire through next July. Laid-off attendant Roger Graham from St. Charles, who's organizing the ex-TWA attendants, said the age of the ex-TWA flight attendants - 40 to 73 - and length of time spent with the airlines - 15 to 40 years - make it difficult to find comparable jobs and pensions. "These same workers have exhausted their savings, lost their homes, filed bankruptcy, and (been) forced to relocate and downsize," he wrote to Arpey. "The hardships have been catastrophic."
Graham said the group supports a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that would extend recall rights to 10 years at airlines, including American, that received federal money after Sept. 11, 2001.McCaskill spokeswoman Adrianne Marsh said Monday the bill is going to the Health Education Labor and Pensions Senate Committee. McLallen said American also has met with McCaskill. Graham said the former ex-TWA workers are hopeful that McCaskill's bill, mediation, or the "good nature of one man" will help them extend their recall rights."We're in the ninth inning," he said.
American parent AMR Corp. bought TWA out of bankruptcy in early 2001. The union representing American's flight attendants put their TWA counterparts at the bottom of the seniority ladder, meaning the TWA workers were first to lose their jobs as AMR slashed thousands of jobs.Last year, the ex-TWA flight attendants picketed their union, claiming it was not representing all its members fairly. The union later agreed to do what it could to get the ex-TWA attendants back to work. The union did not return a phone call seeking comment.
On the Net:
American Airlines: http://www.aa.com/.
Association of Professional Flight Attendants http://www.apfa.org/
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
MASSIVE EFFORTS EXPAND FOR RECALL EXTENSION, AS HUNDREDS MORE DROP OFF RECALL LISTS IN THE NEXT TEN DAYS!
Unions and the public support McCaskill proposal to extend recall rights of airline workers.
Thousands call the Congressional Switchboard in Washington D.C.
Contact the Congressional operator in the Nation's Capital. Please ask to be connected to YOUR Senator's office!
TOLL FREE NUMBER 800-828-0498!
An online petition to the U.S. Congress has collected more than 11,400 signatures in support of the legislation. To sign the petition, PLEASE VISIT: www.petitiononline.com/911AID/petition.html
Washington - Support is growing in organized labor for a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) that would extend the recall rights of airline workers laid off in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The proposal Senate Bill 1992 would extend recall rights of airline workers to 10 years if the air carrier received more than $100 million after the attacks or future government bailouts. Former TWA flight attendants are elated with the legislation because more than 1,000 of them have been terminated from the recall list and thousands more will be receiving their termination letters between now and July 2008 from American Airlines, which bought Trans World Airlines in 2001.
Former TWA attendants have been campaigning since June 2006 to have their recall rights extended because of the extenuating circumstances of 9/11. “We should not be allowed to become the collateral damage of 9/11 or corporate greed,” said longtime attendant Toni Delia. “American Airlines has the ability to sign a letter of agreement with the Flight Attendants union to extend the recall rights,“ Delia said. “They have already gotten a government bailout and wage concessions and have saved millions since the terminations began, while the executives collected million-dollar bonuses. “Now they have the audacity to want something in exchange for extending the recall rights,“ she said.
After 9/11, thousands of airline workers were laid off and a proportionate number have been terminated from the recall list, with more to follow. Without the McCaskill proposal, industry veterans will be terminated from their jobs placing their pension, insurance and benefits in peril. “The taxpayer has bailed out this industry, and airline executives are collecting multi-million dollar bonuses as workers are being terminated from the recall list,“ said industry veteran Roger Graham. “It is time for Congress to take a stand.“
McCaskill's bill has the support of unions representing almost 4 million members. The unions, the Association of Flight Attendants, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Communication Workers, Teamsters, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Jobs with Justice, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, Transport Workers Local 530, Central Trades and Labor Council, Greater St. Louis Labor Council and the Uniform Fire Fighters Association of Greater New York.
“Prior to 9/11, five-year recall rights were considered the norm and acceptable within the airline industry,“ Graham said. “However, in a post-9/11 era, they are not. America is only as strong as its ability to preserve jobs.”