Flight attendants' union breaks off USAir talks

October 29, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

The union representing USAir's 10,000 flight attendants has suspended negotiations over concessions, saying further meetings are fruitless as long as management and USAir's pilots aren't talking.

The recess will last at least through Nov. 15, Carol Austin, USAir chapter chair of the Association of Flight Attendants, said yesterday. In the interim, union leaders will meet with flight attendants around the country to update them on the negotiations.

Ms. Austin said the flight attendants cannot accomplish much more until it becomes clear how much the company's pilots will give up.

The pilots have offered 20 percent pay cuts and said other employee groups also should give up 20 percent in some combination of pay, benefits, work rules and job reductions. USAir and the other unions say that places too much of the burden on workers paid far less than pilots, who make about $100,000 a year on average. The company initially sought pilot pay cuts of up to 39 percent.

"The company needs to get the bigger issue straightened out, and that's the pilots, because they completely walked away," Ms. Austin said.

USAir spokesman Richard Weintraub called the flight attendants' explanation "very logical," adding that the union's decision to suspend talks is "not a problem at all."

Talks between USAir and the pilots broke off three weeks ago over USAir's plan to reduce its fleet by 9 percent in the next year. The financially ailing carrier said it was forced to start selling assets because negotiations were moving too slowly.

The two sides are expected to resume bargaining next week.

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