Skift Take

US Airways would like to avoid the irony of having two different working agreements that still exist following the US Airways-America West merger last beyond the hoped-for merger with American Airlines.

US Airways flight attendants have voted to reject a proposed contract by a narrow margin, the airline said Thursday.

Flight attendants voted 51-49 percent in favor of rejecting the proposed contract, with about 85 percent of union members voting.

It was the second time this year the flight attendants have rejected a contract with the airline. US Airways had expected an earlier offer to pass, but flight attendants voted to reject it in March.

The contract would have been the flight attendants’ first unified agreement since US Airways and America West merged in 2005. US Airways and America West pilots and flight attendants still work under separate, pre-merger contracts, and have been unable to reach joint agreements.

The March deal contained raises for flight attendants, but in the end, it didn’t go far enough, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said. Flight attendants voted it down, with 75 percent opposed.

The second joint contract, tentatively agreed to in August, contained further raises, and union leaders threw their support behind ratification.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline employs 6,800 flight attendants, who are based in Charlotte, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“We are disappointed that our flight attendants chose to vote against ratification of a new contract,” US Airways CEO Doug Parker said in a statement.

US Airways is seeking to merge with American Airlines while that carrier is in bankruptcy court. AFA leaders had said ratifying a joint contract would put them in a stronger position to bargain for better wages and work rules if a merger with American were to occur.

Flight attendant union leaders plan to meet and review their options, the AFA said in a statement. The groups remain under their separate contracts, and the negotiations are still under the jurisdiction of the National Mediation Board.

US Airways’ stock closed down 14 cents, about 1 percent, at $10.36 a share Thursday.

(c)2012 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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Tags: labor, us airways

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