US Airways, flight attendants ask for mediator

Negotiations began more than 2 years ago

February 25, 1999|By Robert Little | Robert Little,SUN STAFF

US Airways and the union representing its 9,000 flight attendants have asked a federal mediator to intervene in negotiations for a new employment contract, amid demands from the union that the airline share its newfound profitability with employees.

The Association of Flight Attendants has been negotiating a new contract with the Arlington, Va.-based airline for more than two years, but has had "very, very little progress," according to Lynn Lenosky, president of the union's division of US Airways employees.

At issue are the company's requests to reduce sick days from five to three annually, scale back the accrual of vacation pay and cut wage rates, which begin at $19 an hour, Lenosky said. The union also is asking for changes in its retirement plan. The union and the airline requested federal mediation Tuesday.

Lenosky said the union has agreed to wage and hour concessions three times over the last 12 years as US Airways struggled to achieve profitability. The airline was profitable in 1998, reporting $538 million in net income for the year.

"Now that the company's doing well, we want to see it reflected in our paychecks," Lenosky said.

Officials with US Airways, the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, would not comment on the negotiations, except to say they were seeking a quick, mutually agreeable resolution.

Pub Date: 2/25/99

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