US Airways flight attendants to strike? - East Valley Tribune: Business

US Airways flight attendants to strike?

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:54 am | Updated: 9:10 am, Wed Nov 21, 2012.

If you head to the airport, you might notice some turbulence but not in the skies.

We're talking about a labor disagreement between flight attendants and management that could end in a strike.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) is expected to get results of a strike vote Tuesday.

Last week, hundreds of US Airways flight attendants formed an informational picket line at Sky Harbor International Airport.

AFA says 6,700 flight attendants around the country are fed up with stalled contract negotiations. According to the AFA, contract negotiations have failed since the US Airways/America West merger of 2005.

"(Doug) Parker, (CEO and Chairman of US Airways), has his eyes on a new merger with American Airlines but he needs to finish this merger first and work with his current employees," Roger Holmin and Deborah Volpe, presidents of the AFA representing flight attendants for pre-merger US Airways and America West respectively, wrote in a statement.

US Airways has been working to merge with bankrupt American Airlines since August. If the merger happened, US Airways/American Airlines would become the world's largest carrier.

"We have a saying: 'Daddy has a new family now. He hasn't taken care of this family yet.' This airline, these employees," Volpe said. "You begin to wonder, if he can't take care of these employees at the original carrier, how's he going to take care of a larger carrier?"

Volpe says it is unlikely that a strike would happen during the holidays but it could occur during Arizona's peak season.

"January, February, March. We're talking Spring Training, winter travel. That's when the impact could hit," Volpe said.

Volpe stressed the AFA does not want to strike but it could come to that. Pay is a sticking point.

If AFA members approve a strike, the issue would be forwarded to the National Mediation Board for review, Volpe said. The NMB would have its say before a strike could happen and there would be a 30-day cooling period first.

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