United Flight Attendant’s Union Asks for Federal Mediation

United Flight Attendant’s Union Asks for Federal Mediation


The Association of Flight Attendants has officially requested that the National Mediation Board step in to assist them in getting their negotiations with United back on track.

United’s management is finding out the hard way that United flight attendants are not willing to accept a contract that denies them their rightful share after decades of givebacks.

United Flight Attendants demonstrated in unprecedented numbers throughout the UAL system on July 16th. Passengers joined in at LAX

United Flight Attendants demonstrated in unprecedented numbers throughout the UAL system on July 16th. Passengers joined in at LAX

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Message sent from AFA to United Flight Attendants

Today AFA filed for federal mediation under the jurisdiction of the National Mediation Board in order to bring three years of negotiations to a close and allow United to complete its merger with Continental/Continental Micronesia. Once the case is docketed, the National Mediation Board will contact the parties regarding negotiation dates next steps. Please see the AFA media release regarding the filing for mediation.

AFA Director of Collective Bargaining Joe Burns today sent a letter to United VP of Human Resources Jeff Wall refuting the Company’s baseless allegations that AFA violated the Negotiations Protocol Agreement. As the letter indicates, the Company’s assertions are without merit. AFA believes we should be spending time discussing the substance of the issues separating the parties rather than these procedural debates.

“A clear dispute exists and it is time for federal mediation. We are calling on management to negotiate a fair contract within the reality of record profits. Three years after the talks for a joint contract began, management doesn’t seemed focused on negotiating a contract Flight Attendants can ratify,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson.  “The longterm success of United Airlines depends upon current executives finishing this merger, which includes negotiating a joint Flight Attendant contract, and making good on promises to employees, Capitol Hill and the traveling public.”

We will need ever increasing pressure on the Company to do the right thing and settle this agreement. So wear your red AFA pin (new shipments of pins are arriving at each local around the system as the pins roll off the production line) to support your Joint Negotiations Committee. Stay informed about the negotiations at or by signing up to be a Negotiations Support Activist (NSA).

United’s Jeff Wall, VP of Employee Relations sent a letter, on 8/19/2016, terminating the Negotiations Protocol Agreement between United and the AFA

Watch Recent United Executive Video (Parody)

Watch Recent United Executive Video (Parody)

Some of the reasons Mr. Wall outlined in his letter, for terminating the agreement, are:

  • Refusing to “exchange information in [its] possession relevant to understanding and analysis of proposals, including financial analysis and costing,” a direct violation of paragraph 8 of the NPA.
  • Failing to “maintain confidentiality regarding the facilitated problem solving discussions” and, in fact, disclosing (and largely misrepresenting) in its public communications the remarks, proposals, positions and viewpoints of United representatives expressed during negotiations, in direct violation of paragraph 9 of the NPA.
  • Failing to “maintain a professional, respectful tone and avoid communications that denigrate or contain derogatory language about the other party or any individual,” actions inconsistent with paragraph 9 of the NPA.
  • Engaging in public demonstrations, picketing and other politicized activities designed solely to create an “us versus them” environment and exert outside pressure on United negotiators, all of which are not “consistent with the spirit and inten

A memo from Sam Risoli, UAL VP of Inflight, stated: 

“United today sent a letter to AFA outlining our termination of the negotiation protocol agreement that served as the guiding structure behind our recent facilitated negotiations process. Unfortunately, AFA repeatedly violated the protocol agreement and refused to engage in cooperative, collaborative and good faith bargaining, which we’ve outlined in our letter to AFA. We remain very committed to reaching an industry-leading joint agreement and moving forward without this protocol agreement won’t impact our ability to achieve that.”


It seems that United’s management did not appreciate having UAL flight attendants stand up for themselves during recent picketing events. Hopefully, United’s flight attendants will continue to stay strong and demand their fair share.



Gailen David is co-host of the nationally syndicated travel talk show, "The Jet Set" with over 1.8M weekly viewers in over 200 television markets in 12 countries. A former flight attendant, he leads a global discussion about "Jetiquette", the rules or code of civilized travel. Gailen is a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN and USA Today on topics related to the airline travel experience and of course, Jetiquette. Visit Gailen's website

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