Flight attendants at Northwest Airlines, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), said they will continue CHAOS strike preparations while they appeal an injunction issued Friday by the U.S. District Court in New York.
“Management and the courts can gang up on us but they cannot defeat us,” said Mollie Reiley, Interim Master Executive Council President for AFA-CWA at Northwest. “This is yet another example of how the legal system fails to protect working families.
“The courts continue to cater to corporate America. But we have a warning for the executives at Northwest and across this country who think they can litigate greed: this fight isn’t over. Our crusade to protect our careers has only begun; not only for Northwest flight attendants, but for all flight attendants who will walk in our footsteps.”
On July 31, Northwest management unilaterally imposed over $200 million in cuts to wages, benefits and work rules on the flight attendants. Those same terms were earlier rejected by over 80 percent of the flight attendants. The terms consisted of over 40 percent reductions in salary and benefits, and more than a 20 percent increase in work hours.
AFA-CWA issued the company notice of the flight attendants’ intent to exercise their right to strike as early as Aug. 25 at 9:01 pm CDT. Normally under the Railway Labor Act, any unilateral change in a contract triggers a right to strike, but today’s ruling trampled that long-standing labor law principle.
“We believe this decision is obviously an incorrect reading of the law and the rights of workers in the United States. We will appeal,” said David Borer, AFA General Counsel. “Northwest’s executives cannot expect to take over a billion dollars from the flight attendants without consequences. We will continue to aggressively defend our members’ right to demand fair wages and working conditions.”
AFA-CWA, the world’s largest flight attendant union, represents more than 55,000 flight attendants, including 9,000 at Northwest.