For Immediate Release: May 28, 2008
Contact: Kevin Griffin 808-225-9632 or
Corey Caldwell 202-434-0586
Northwest Flight Attendants Vow To Defend Contract As Delta Flight Attendant Election is Voided
Washington, DC – Northwest Airlines Master Executive Council President Kevin Griffin issued the following statement today after results were announced from the Delta Air Lines flight attendants’ election to become members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA). With only 5,306, or almost 40 percent, of eligible flight attendants voting, the National Mediation Board (NMB) could not certify AFA-CWA as the flight attendants' representative.
“This election’s results send a strong message to the over 7,500 flight attendants at Northwest Airlines – our contract and our profession are under attack and we must do everything in our power to preserve and protect our future. For Delta executives, the idea of a merger with Northwest is even more attractive as it would give them a chance to prevent thousands of non-union employees from gaining a union, and also would be an opportunity to eliminate the unions that already provide protections for their members at Northwest. We have outlined conditions necessary that need to be met before Northwest flight attendants will support any merger and we will continue to stand behind those.
“Delta flight attendants faced an uphill battle throughout this election. Every step of the way they were met with increased resistance from management. We applaud and honor the Delta flight attendants who stood up to management’s intimidation and coercion and who voted to have voice in their future.
“Today Northwest flight attendants face a very real threat to our collective bargaining rights. Delta is now set for what could be an unprecedented remaking of the entire airline industry, one that could destroy airline jobs as a stable and secure middle class career once and for all. We will continue to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. Northwest flight attendants refuse to imagine a future without a voice and without a vote. We refuse to imagine a future without a say in our work lives. We refuse to imagine a future where there is no seat at the table for flight attendants.
“Northwest flight attendants have been known for our long and proud history of being strong union members and we will do everything in our power to continue that tradition. Over the next several months, we will work alongside our Delta flight attendant colleagues on how to best move forward with our two groups and we are prepared to defend our rights should the merger occur and another election is triggered.”
Under current NMB rules, when one non-union work group merges with a union group, if 35 percent of combined workforce has union representation or signs a union card, a union election will automatically be called. That vote is expected to occur in early 2009.
On May 29, flight attendant representatives from Northwest and Delta will meet at the AFA-CWA offices for the first of many strategic joint committee sessions. The sessions are geared toward developing a framework for integration of the two flight attendant groups, as well mapping out future plans for responding to the merger.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.