Friday, February 05, 2010

Ex-TWA flight attendants threaten to work during American Airlines strike

The Dallas Morning News - Airline Biz Blog Feb 04, 2010

A group of ex-Trans World Airlines flight attendants was warning Thursday its members would gladly work as replacements if American Airlines flight attendants walk off the job.

The St. Louis-based group, Coalition for Union Principles, told APFA president Laura Glading last August that the group's members would be willing to cross a picket line if the APFA walked off the job. That threat was repeated in a Thursday press release.

"If American Airlines calls, the majority of the former TWA attendants will respond," coalition spokesperson Nancy McGuire said. "They want to resume the careers that were stolen from them by a renegade union."

Consider this as a continuation of a dispute between the American flight attendants and the ex-TWA flight attendants, who joined American when American acquired TWA assets in 2001.
The APFA put all the TWA flight attendants at the bottom of the APFA seniority list.

That meant that a 40-year flight attendant who came over from TWA would be laid off before a flight attendant who was hired at American a month before the TWA acquisition.

In fact, the TWA flight attendants have all been laid off since 2001. In that group are more than 2,000 that lost all recall rights after they had been on furlough for five years.

American eventually agreed to extend the recall rights of many other flight attendants beyond five years. However, flight attendants who had already passed the five-year mark did not get recall rights given back to them, and they're gone, period.

The coalition in its press release said the ex-TWA group "have no loyalty to the union they blame for ending their careers."

"APFA has damaged the labor movement by their failure to respect the seniority of fellow union members," McGuire said. "The TWA attendants have no loyalty to a group masquerading as a labor union that does not respect the most basic tenet of unionism."

APFA and American are in the middle of contract talks overseen by the National Mediation Board. Glading has said the union will ask the NMB to declare an impasse if the next round of negotiations, set for Feb. 27-March 3 in Washington, don't result in a deal.

American has told the Federal Aviation Administration that it may train management employees to work as replacements if APFA members conduct a strike.

We asked American spokeswoman Missy Latham on Tuesday if American was considering using ex-TWA flight attendants to replace strikers, or if the airline had talked to McGuire about the subject.

Her answer: "I've confirmed that we have done neither ... at this time."

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