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United employees worldwide rally over contracts

April 6, 2010 12:23:30 PM PDT
United Airlines cabin crews held informational pickets at SFO and at airports from Germany to Hong Kong to protest their lack of a labor contract with the carrier.

About 200 have joined in this labor contract protest against the carrier. It even includes flight attendants from other airlines too. Even pilots have joined in to support them.

Tuesday is the second global public protest in which flight attendants' slogan is they'll do 'whatever it takes' to get the contract they feel they deserve.

Nearly 13,000 United Airlines flight attendants are involved in the dispute. They say they've been working at 1994 wage levels and at longer hours.

It's been exactly one year since the start of contract negotiations and the Association of Flight Attendants claims that United management is not offering them anything and just asking for concessions, like staying at less expensive hotels during layovers.

"We took devastating pay cuts almost eight years ago, not only to our pay, but to our benefits and we lost our pensions. And the executives of United Airlines keep giving themselves millions of dollars of bonuses every year and that is unacceptable when flight attendants are struggling just to make ends meet," President of SF local union chapter of AFA Chris Black said.

United airlines responded to ABC7 saying: "We have presented proposals to the AFA that were repeatedly dismissed outright, without even receiving counterproposals. United's attempts to engage in a mutually beneficial problem-solving approach to the issues have been rebuffed. United wants to achieve mutually beneficial contracts, including competitive wages and competitive productivity levels."

United offered its flight attendants the pay scale that Continental Airlines pays, which for those with more seniority would mean raises of more than 10 percent. But some of the issues they want and concessions are work rules, which United flight attendants say they are not exactly willing to give and it is not a good deal.

Before a strike can happen, a 30-day cooling off period must take place. Strike-preparation seminars have already been held around the world.


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