United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants failed to reach an a wage proposal agreement by the November 4th deadline.
According to AFA, the main issue of disagreement was over a United Airlines proposal that would only offer salary increases for flight attendants if the union signs an agreement to give consent to the US Airways merger. AFA as reported on the Nov. 7th DEAR-AFA: "AFA has not stalled wage negotiations. The talks stalled because United management tried to set conditions before we could receive the increases in compensation that we deserve immediately. AFA says the Flight Attendants should get a raise now. United says the raise would have to come later. AFA says we should get a raise because we deserve it. United says the pay raise would have to be tied to a Fence Agreement."
However, United has stated in NewsReal on Nov. 7th, "Negotiators from both parties came up with a good way to proceed toward a pay increase for flight attendants. United is willing to go forward with that plan; however, AFA leadership did not support the plan worked out by its negotiators."
It gets even more tangled when you read some of the news wire headlines:
"United's Tangled Contract Talks Reach Another Impasse" -- from Airwise News, November 6, 2000
"UAL Flight Attendants Reject Proposal" -- Reuters Business News, Nov. 6 at 8:14 PM EST
"United Attendants to Fight Merger" -- from Reuters Business News, Nov. 6 at 8:50 PM EST
"Flight Attendant Contract Wage Conference Effort Stalled by AFA" -- United Airlines NewsReal, Nov. 7, 2000 Love the eloquent word 'stalled' in this headline!
As a consequence of this dispute, the wage talks between United Airlines and its flight attendants have reached an standoff. Needless to say, it was a major setback for the flight attendants of United Airlines, as well as for the goals of the People Division at UAL Corporation.
What happens now?
I'll summarize two main actions that are going to be taken by the union, as mentioned during the web cast on November 6th:
In addition, the union plans an extensive "contract education" plan aimed at educating more flight attendants on their current UAL/AFA contract.
One very important point: This wage proposal dispute that you'll all be hearing about around the system should not be confused with our Wage Arbitration review that is set for 2001. The company had agreed to open our contract six months early because of the recent pay increases given to other employee groups. Even though these talks have broken down, our Wage Arbitration review will proceed normally under the terms of our current contract dated December 3, 1997.