In a move that would have created the employees’ first unified contract since the 2005 merger with America West, the Association of Flight Attendants has voted to reject a tentative deal with US Airways.
A reported 75 percent of the 6,700 flight attendants at US Airways voted against the deal that represents a setback for US Airways, which has been trying to negotiate contracts with both its flight attendants and pilots for years. The old US Airways was bought out of bankruptcy protection by America West to form the current US Airways Group. However, flight attendants and pilots have both continued to operate under separate contracts, meaning the airline has had to schedule them separately, in some ways running two separate airlines.
US Airways is exploring a potential merger with bankrupt American Airlines.
While the deal contained raises for flight attendants, in the end the AFA said it didn’t go far enough.
The union said it will push to restart talks, which are controlled by the federal National Mediation Board.
Leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants union called for “substantial improvements to our current contracts” in a statement on the results on Friday. In a joint statement issued by union officials Deborah Volpe and Mark Gentile they emphasized that sacrifices made by flight attendants in subsidizing the merger and rising fuel costs for the ‘New US Airways’, have directly contributed to the success of US Airways.
Doug Parker, US Airways’ Chairman and CEO expressed disappointment in the choice made by the flight attendants adding that the tentative agreement would cover 6,700 flight attendants.
Unified contracts between Pilots and flight attendants are still not in place and pre-merger America West pilots and flight attendants operate under different pay scales and rules than their pre-merger US Airways counterparts.
Shares of the Tempe, Ariz.-based airline fell 30 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $7.59 in aftermarket trading after the vote was released.
“We will now consult with the NMB and AFA leadership to determine the best steps going forward to one day reach a ratified agreement,” Parker said.US Airways flight attendants reject contract deal by Harrison Barnes