Monday, December 24, 2007
For Immediate Release December 21, 2007
McCaskill Brokers Deal to Save 1,200 Jobs at American Airlines
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Senator Claire McCaskill today brought some holiday cheer to the families of over 1,200 laid-off flight attendants for American Airlines who were about to face expiration of their recall rights. In a press conference today, McCaskill announced that American Airlines and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) have successfully concluded a new labor agreement for these workers.
The agreement was reached after Senator McCaskill initiated a ten-month series of negotiations in her Senate office on behalf of the men and women facing expiration of their recall rights after years of quality service to the company. American Airlines will extend for two years the option of laid-off flight attendants to get their jobs back at American Airlines. The airline has made a series of substantial hires in recent months, and Senator McCaskill has been assured that these 1,200 laid-off employees will be given a chance to return to the skies.
“American Airlines should be commended for doing what’s right – and I have no doubt that these returning workers will bring an exemplary level of service in the skies over Missouri,” said Sen. McCaskill. “This was an issue of fundamental fairness, and I am simply delighted that we were able to reach a successful resolution in the holiday season.”
"Not only has Sen. McCaskill saved and preserved jobs in Missouri with her actions, but also all across the nation. This workforce looks forward to returning to our jobs with American Airlines and serving the traveling public,” said Roger Graham, a former flight attendant affected by this announcement.
These employees were furloughed following the 9/11 attacks that devastated the airline industry. They were guaranteed a five-year right to reclaim their jobs from American if new hires were made, but the growth in the airline sector was slow and many furloughed employees were facing expiration of their recall rights, and loss of benefits.
Statement from Roger Graham
Of all the promises made to the former TWA Flight Attendants, all were broken but one. That promise was made by Senator Claire McCaskill, who promised to assist this workgroup to return to their jobs after the devastating events of 9/11.
With Senator McCaskill’s relentless negotiations with the respective parties, many former TWA flight attendants now have the opportunity to return to their career, leaving behind the destructive path of a merger and the events of 9/11. Senator McCaskill has successfully taken on some very serious challenges as she fills Harry Truman's Senate shoes with honor and dignity.
In less than one year in office, Senator McCaskill saved countless jobs in Missouri and all across the nation. In addition, Senator McCaskill successfully sponsored legislation protecting hundreds of thousands of employees that may one day face a merger within the airline industry. The economy of Missouri will prosper from her actions, and the results of mergers and acquisitions within the aviation industry, will soon be remarkably different.
This workforce looks forward to returning to our jobs with AA, and serving the traveling public. We owe a debt of gratitude and appreciation to many labor leaders, legislators and individuals including the TWA Flight Attendant "My Family". Special thanks to Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Ted Kennnedy (D-MA), their entire staff including those of Senator Claire McCaskill, representing the great state of Missouri.
Friday, December 21, 2007
TWA flight attendants should be flying again soon
By JIM SALTER The Associated Press
Sen. Claire McCaskill brokered a deal between American Airlines and the TWA flight attendants who lost their jobs after Sept. 11.
ST. LOUIS They took jobs as grocery workers, house painters, whatever they could to get by. But in the months to come, about 1,400 former Trans World Airline flight attendants who have been laid off for several years should be back to the skies.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced that she had brokered a deal between American Airlines and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants to extend the recall rights for the former TWA attendants for an additional two years.
At a news conference Friday, McCaskill said that with the upturn in the airline industry, the deal almost certainly means all of the attendants who want their jobs back will get them.
“In this line of work you have some dark days and then you have days like this,” McCaskill said, wiping a tear from her eye.
American bought TWA in 2001, just months before the airline industry was hit hard by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As part of the merger, the former TWA employees went to the bottom of the seniority list. After the attacks, they were the first to go and the last to be recalled. All told, about 2,500 former TWA attendants were laid off.
Several hundred have since been recalled, but the recall rights for the rest were scheduled to end in November. McCaskill was able to get a brief extension and even threatened legislative action.
Eventually, American agreed to the extended recall rights. As part of the deal, the union withdrew grievances related to the handling of the layoffs. McCaskill lauded both sides, noting that the TWA attendants averaged 20 years of experience and would earn roughly 50 percent more than American would have had to pay beginners.
American spokeswoman Susan Gordon said, “I think we’re pleased to have been able to work through the issue and reach a mutually beneficial solution.”
Many TWA flight attendants were trained at the airline’s Breech Academy, which was at Lamar and Shawnee Mission Parkway in Overland Park. TWA’s headquarters also was in Kansas City, at 1735 Baltimore Ave., before it moved to New York in 1958 and then to St. Louis.
At Friday’s news conference, McCaskill jokingly told former attendant Roger Graham that he could stop calling her now. It was Graham who spearheaded the effort to extend the recall rights. “With Senator McCaskill’s help, many of the former TWA flight attendants will now have the opportunity to return to their career, leaving behind the destructive path of a merger and 9/11,” Graham said.
One of the attendants, John Linneman, said he took a job working on television towers before his recent recall. Others, he said, made do with low-paying jobs and financial insecurity as they tried to get by. "We all did what we could do, but we stayed together as a group," he said. McCaskill said many struggled to stay afloat. "There has been depression, financial ruin," McCaskill said. "There have been families torn apart, divorces. "Still, Graham said, there are no hard feelings toward the company. "We're a forgiving group," he said. "The only bitter feelings that remain are for 9-11."
Dec 20, 2007
WASHINGTON American Airlines has agreed to give about 1,200 former TWA flight attendants more time to get their jobs back. The ex-flight attendants were among more than 2,500 laid off in 2001, shortly after the two airlines merged.
Several hundred of the former TWA employees have been recalled in the past year, but the remaining 1,200 were close to losing their five-year recall rights.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., brokered the deal between the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and Fort Worth, Texas-based American to extend the recall rights for two more years.
"At the rate American Airlines is hiring employees, we expect that all employees on the recall list will have an opportunity to get their jobs back if they so desire," said Sean Kennedy, McCaskill's chief of staff. Kennedy said the deal was finalized on Thursday. "Sen. McCaskill is thrilled that she was able to bring closure to a dispute that's been simmering for five years now," Kennedy said.
McCaskill, who has been working on the deal for months, plans to announce details Friday at a 10:30 a.m. CST news conference at the Robert A. Young federal building in St. Louis.
The layoffs that began in 2001 were linked to the widespread problems the aviation industry faced after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The TWA employees were laid off in waves starting in 2001, and the last group to lose their jobs would have seen their five-year recall rights expire in July.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:40pm EST
CHICAGO, Dec 13 - AMR Corp's American Airlines said on Thursday it is sending recall notices to 247 furloughed flight attendants to address anticipated staffing needs and projected attrition for 2008.
The world's largest airline said it has recalled more than 900 flight attendants this year, including 900 former TWA and American Airlines flight attendants.
Although this represents good news for some furloughees, it still leaves little hope, beyond congressional intervention, to save the jobs of those flight attendants who have fallen or will soon fall off American's recall list.