US Airways and its 11,000 flight attendants have reached a transition agreement that helps protect the jobs of former America West Airlines employees as work forces at the two carriers are combined over the next two years.
The pact is similar to one reached with the pilots of the two airlines. It governs the merger policy during the transition period and sets the framework for single contract talks and the merging of seniority lists.
“It does offer us the job protections that have eluded us since this merger was announced,” said Gary Richardson, president of the local council of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents America West flight attendants.
The pact provides protections for local flight attendants by not allowing furloughed US Airways flight attendants to displace active America West flight attendants.
The agreement also does not allow the Tempe airline to rebid jobs once the carrier is integrated.
Richardson said that will prevent US Airways from moving senior US Airways flight attendants into slots held by America West flight attendants .
Both flight attendant groups will be able to participate in a profit-sharing plan.
During the transition, the company can hire furloughed flight attendants from US Airways. They would be governed under the terms of the current America West contract and they would be at the bottom of the seniority list at America West.
Since the two carriers merged in September, America West employee groups have been concerned their jobs could go to more senior employees at US Airways once lists are combined.
“We’ve reached yet another important milestone in our integration,” US Airways CEO Doug Parker said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of the continued cooperative spirit exhibited by our employees as we work to establish a foundation of trust that contributes to our successful integration”
Richardson said the company has a track record of broken promises, and the agreement was imperative to protect Valley-based flight attendants.
US Airways and America West’s recent merger creates the fifth-largest domestic airline employing about 35,000.