Norwegian Air’s US-based flight attendants have chosen to be represented by the country’s largest flight attendants union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
Now, Norwegian’s flight attendants, who are based in the US, will be able to negotiate a fair contract and protect themselves against the company’s plans to offshore crew member positions as cruise lines do.
This comes after years of battling Norwegian management’s anti-union campaign which included claims by the company that the flight attendants were not actual employees of the airline. Norwegian’s system of hire through a separate human resources company did not impress a judge who ruled that the company’s flight attendants are in fact employees of the airline and entitled to organize should they choose to do so — and they have chosen.
Here are many more details included in today’s press release from AFA:
Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2017) — U.S.-based Norwegian flight attendants voted today to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA). Last month the Executive Board of the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association agreed to join AFA pending a full membership vote. Today 59 percent of the voters elected AFA as their collective bargaining representative. In doing so the flight attendants rejected an intense campaign of management interference and union-busting during the vote.
“We are thrilled to welcome the U.S.-based Norwegian Flight Attendants to our Flight Attendant union,” stated Sara Nelson, AFA International President. “We congratulate the Executive Board of NCCA on this successful vote. They become the twentieth member-airline in AFA, making us stronger and better than ever. Norwegian has fought the Flight Attendants’ right to organize and bargain a contract for nearly two years, but that stops now. We will not allow Norwegian to pit crews against each other. We will support the Flight Attendants to negotiate an agreement that recognizes their commitment to Norwegian’s success and maintains the rights of Flight Attendants both in the United States and the European Union. We also wish to thank Parat, the union representing the Flight Attendants based in Norway. They are incredible partners in standing up for Flight Attendants at Norwegian and around the world.”
The U.S.-based Norwegian flight attendants formed an independent union, the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association (NCCA) in August 2016, after a year-long struggle by the Flight Attendants against Norwegian’s efforts to deny them the right to even vote on union representation. Following the vote, Norwegian refused to participate in bargaining and NCCA was forced to file for federal mediation. It became clear at the first federal mediation session that the Flight Attendants would need the support and resources of AFA to ensure their collective bargaining rights are upheld and to negotiate a contract with Norwegian. The result of this vote affirms that AFA represents all of the U.S. based Norwegian Flight Attendants and the company will not be able to use a shell game or subsidiaries to pit flight attendants against each other.
“We are proud to join the Association of Flight Attendants,” said Valentin Lorien, president of the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association. ““With the backing of AFA, we now have the resources we need to negotiate a fair contract for our workgroup, the US-based flight attendants of Norwegian.”
By way of background, Norwegian in 2016 attempted to thwart a union representation vote by arguing that it was not the Flight Attendants’ employer. The company alleged that OSM, an HR agency, was the employer, and therefore there was no basis to hold a representation election. They were wrong. With the assistance of AFA’s attorneys, the National Mediation Board (NMB) rejected the idea that the Flight Attendants didn’t have an employment relationship with the airline.