A Strike Looms
After exhaustive efforts to come to an agreement with the airline’s management, Air Wisconsin flight attendants have authorized a strike and are ready to shut down the airline. If you’re booking flights on United, check to see if Air Wisconsin will operate your flight or better yet book away from United until this labor dispute is resolved. It’s the only way to be sure.
The flight attendants have not yet been released from mediation at this time.
In a previous article, we described the unacceptable working conditions endured by Air Wisconsin flight attendants and management’s unwillingness to bargain fairly to reach an agreement on necessary improvements. Many AirWis flight attendants work up to three jobs to earn a living and new-hire flight attendant for the regional airline qualify for food stamps.
“I’ve had to dig into my 401K to make ends meet as this company makes record profits and hands out huge bonuses to some. I’m tired of the excuses after all of the years so many of us have devoted! And we are supposed to be a family here?” AirWis Flight Attendant
Regional airline flight attendants perform the same duties as crewmembers for the major airlines but receive roughly half the pay. United chooses regional airline contracts based in part on the lowest bid. Air Wisconsin has maintained their relationship with United by forcing their flight attendants to finance the arrangement, and the flight attendants have had enough.
Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), today voted 99 percent to authorize a strike. Air Wisconsin provides regional air service for United Airlines.
“Enough is enough. Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants are ready to do whatever it takes to get a new contract. We have made every sacrifice to ensure the stability of the airline while management refuses to offer meaningful pay and work rule improvements. Higher pay, no more delay,” said Ernie Lazernick, AFA Air Wisconsin President.
Negotiations began in July 2016 and are overseen by the National Mediation Board. No future negotiations sessions have been scheduled at this time. Lack of progress could lead to the National Mediation Board (NMB) declaring that negotiations are deadlocked and releasing both parties into a 30-day “cooling off” period leading to a strike deadline. AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS™ or Create Havoc Around Our System™. With CHAOS™, a strike could affect the entire system or a single flight. The union decides when, where and how to strike without notice to management or passengers.
Air Wisconsin is a regional airline, headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin operating CRJ-200 regional jets. Air Wisconsin previously operated as an American Eagle regional air carrier. As of March 2018, Air Wisconsin operates exclusively as a United Express regional air carrier.