Northwest flight attendants elected the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA as their new bargaining representative in ballots counted Thursday by the National Mediation Board. The new union said it will immediately begin talks with the airline, which is seeking to have a bankruptcy court overturn the current flight attendants’ contract.
AFA-CWA received 4,349 votes to 2,668 for the incumbent union, the Professional Flight Attendants Association.
“Despite the many obstacles along the path, Northwest flight attendants today took control of their careers and joined forces with the strongest flight attendant union in the world,” said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. “For the first time in a long while, our sisters and brothers at Northwest have hope. They are hopeful that with AFA-CWA’s wealth of experience in negotiating with airlines in bankruptcy, their careers will be protected.”
AFA-CWA plans to begin negotiations immediately with the company, she said. On June 30, a federal bankruptcy judge gave Northwest permission to impose terms detailed in a tentative agreement that the flight attendants struck down earlier this year if an agreement could not be reached within two weeks.
“While we are disappointed by today’s results, now is not the time for anger or division,” PFAA said in a statement issued on its website. “We must unite behind our new union, and together march forward to make certain that our careers at Northwest Airlines remain safe and secure.”
AFA-CWA launched the organizing campaign in September 2005 after a coalition of Northwest flight attendants approached the union seeking new representation. AFA-CWA represents more than 46,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines and is the world’s largest flight attendant union.