I joined Air Wisconsin flight attendants on the picket line at Washington Dulles International Airport this morning just as they petitioned the National Mediation Board to release them from mediation so they will be free to strike the airline if they cannot reach an agreement.
United Express Carrier Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants Say Negotiations Are at an Impasse, Ask Government to Impose Deadline on Talks
WASHINGTON — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) representing United Express carrier Air Wisconsin flight attendants has petitioned the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration/release from mediation, which could start the clock for a potential flight attendant strike 30 days later.
“Enough! Flight attendants are living in poverty while airlines are making billions off their backs,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson. “The aviation scam of the century is undervaluing flight attendants and other workers at regionals who provide the backbone service of mainline networks. The Air Wisconsin story is among the worst example of this with first year flight attendants making as little as $15,000 a year and others who have gone without a raise for 12 years are no longer able to keep up. Flight attendants have voted 99 percent to strike, if necessary, and today we are formally requesting a release from mediation to move these negotiations to conclusion. This is our number one contract fight.”
In a letter submitted to the NMB, AFA said it believes a proffer of arbitration and release from mediation is necessary to move the parties to agreement. The next step under the statute is a 30-day cooling-off period that ends with a strike deadline.
Today, Air Wisconsin flight attendants are demonstrating at Washington Dulles International Airport. They are joined by AFA union leaders, flight attendants from across the country and labor allies in the region.
“What happens at one airline, affects us all and Flight Attendants across the industry are standing with Air Wisconsin flight attendants for a fair contract,” Nelson stated.
Flight attendant negotiations at Air Wisconsin have been overseen by the National Mediation Board since 2017. In November 2018, Air Wisconsin flight attendants voted by 99 percent to authorize a strike. AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System™. With CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system, a single airport, 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.
The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 73 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.