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US Airways attendants OK job actions

/ Source: The Associated Press

Flight attendants at US Airways have overwhelmingly authorized their union to engage in strike-related activities should a federal bankruptcy court permit management to cancel its collective bargaining agreement with its employees.

Pat Friend, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said Monday that flight attendants would engage in intermittent strikes on flights, with the union choosing the dates and locations.

US Airways last month asked a bankruptcy judge in Alexandria, Va., to cancel the collective bargaining agreement for flight attendants and several other unions. The airline wants to impose a 15 percent pay cut on the flight attendants, with no pay raise until 2008, and eliminate their pension plan.

US Airways, bankrupt for the second time in two years, is seeking to transform itself into a low-cost carrier in the mold of America West or JetBlue. The airline says it needs to drastically cut worker pay, change work rules, terminate its remaining pension plans and eliminate most medical benefits for retirees to become competitive with such airlines.

Christina Ulosevich, manager of employee communications for US Airways, said the airline is continuing to negotiate with flight attendants and wants an agreement both sides can accept without a court ruling.

She also said the company's position is that a strike by the flight attendants is illegal under the current contract.

About 5,200 AFA flight attendants work for US Airways.