Arbitrator rules against Midwest Airlines flight attendants

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An arbitrator has ruled that Midwest Airlines Inc.’s decision to operate a fleet of regional jets is permissible under a union contract with its flight attendants.

On Sept. 3, 2008, Oak Creek-based Midwest Airlines entered into an airline services agreement with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. to operate a fleet of Embraer 170 aircraft under the Midwest Connect brand.

The Association of Flight Attendants subsequently filed a grievance, contending that the arrangement was a subcontract that violated Midwest’s collective bargaining agreement with its flight attendant group. The grievance was submitted to an arbitrator for review.

The arbitrator found that the arrangement is a legitimate codeshare, marketing or alliance agreement and further found that Midwest’s collective bargaining agreement with the flight attendants provides Midwest with the right to enter into such agreements.

Last week, a different arbitrator denied a similar grievance filed by the Air Line Pilots Association.