United Airlines flight attendants’ efforts to protect American jobs when considering the anti-trust immunity filing to join Continental with United and the Star Alliance, take on extraordinary meaning this week following an announcement by United to furlough 2,150 flight attendants this fall. The flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA-CWA) at United Airlines, are pressing the US Department of Transportation in an ongoing campaign to help stem further job loss.
“More than ever it is clear American jobs are an integral part of our American economy. Our government has a responsibility to ensure business ventures protect access to good American jobs,” stated Greg Davidowitch, president of the AFA-CWA at United Airlines. “Our country’s anti-trust laws exist for a reason, including consumer protections as recently highlighted by the Department of Justice, as well as job protections that take on even greater meaning in today’s economic climate.”
The flight attendant union members have been contacting congress and calling the administration for weeks in a campaign to apply greater scrutiny of airline alliances. As United Airlines management helped grow the Star Alliance to the largest in the world over the last decade, flight attendants at the carrier have experienced a loss of nearly half their ranks or 12,000 jobs. The recent furlough announcement again points to the critical nature of the flight attendants’ effort to insure job protections in any approval of an airline alliance and specifically the venture proposed by Continental and United Airlines within the Star Alliance.
Flight attendants have connected consumer concerns to worker concerns within airline alliances as they press the administration to look more closely at the Continental and United venture. Domestic and international anti-competitive concerns identified by the Department of Justice directly relates to the very same conditions that lead to greater job loss. Fares rise as frequency of flights is diminished when all competition is erased.
Yesterday, Davidowitch again wrote to the Department of Transportation on behalf of the United Airlines flight attendants. “While the Department of Transportation takes care to review the concerns detailed by the Department of Justice, as part of any final order, we again call on the administration to enact durable and meaningful provisions designed to insure an equitable measure of protections for workers.” The full letter is posted on the union’s website at www.unitedafa.org.