For Immediate Release: April 1, 2008
Contact: Corey Caldwell 202-434-0586
Court Fails To Keep Aloha Airlines Flying
Over 350 Flight Attendants Struggle with Reality of Unemployment
Washington, DC - Yesterday afternoon in a Hawaii bankruptcy court, Judge Lloyd King steadfastly refused to stand in the way of Aloha Airlines’ plan to shut down passenger operations. In the latest devastating example of the enormous protection corporations receive under our current judicial system, hundreds of employees, including the over 350 flight attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), awoke this morning without jobs and with many unanswered questions.
“There are few words right now that express our sadness and anger at this deplorable situation,” said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. “The utter disregard that Aloha management and the bankruptcy court have shown for Aloha’s loyal and devoted employees is unconscionable. This is yet another example of how today’s legal system fails to protect the average citizen.”
Despite petitions in opposition to the shutdown from AFA-CWA as well as Hawaii’s Governor, Judge King, with an unbelievable lack of a sense of civic responsibility and judicial authority, said this matter was a business decision and it was not his place to decide what the airline should do. AFA-CWA legal staff, as well as other volunteers from around the union have been in Hawaii since before the airline filed for bankruptcy on March 20 to assist the Aloha flight attendants and ensure the membership has access to all available resources. AFA-CWA will continue to represent the flight attendants through the bankruptcy process and participate in the deliberations of the Creditor’s Committee, to which AFA-CWA was appointed by the U.S. Trustee.
When the airline’s last flight landed Monday night, the hundreds of affected Aloha employees had just over 24 hours to grasp the situation. Management contacted AFA-CWA via conference call on Sunday, March 30 to inform the union’s leaders of the plan to cease operations. While the financial and emotional effects of the shutdown have yet to be fully realized, the sudden loss of over 1,900 jobs will cause a destructive ripple through the state of Hawaii, as studies have shown that every airline job supports 18 additional jobs within the community.
“We remain focused on helping our members and their families navigate through this difficult time. Among AFA-CWA’s first members, Aloha flight attendants have helped to shape our union as we know it today and we will be forever grateful for their contributions over the years. Today, our entire membership of over 55,000 flight attendants grieve for our sisters and brothers at Aloha. We will continue to rally around our fellow members and provide them all the support they need, as the story of Aloha flight attendants must be told and preserved,” said Friend.
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.