ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS-CWA,
501 Third Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001-2797 PHONE 202-434-1300
September 14, 2005 Dear Fellow Flight Attendant, Without a doubt our industry is in the midst of its worst crisis since the early days of deregulation. Bankruptcies are real and more are threatened. The specter of consolidation looms: US Airways and America West is just the beginning. Against this backdrop I have kept a watchful eye on your progress as you moved from being members of a large multi-craft union to a union solely for Northwest flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) has lead five of our member airlines through seats on the Unsecured Creditor's Committee at each of them. We have reached agreements that were painful and turned back the clock on years of progressive bargaining, but each of those five airlines is still in business and our members are still working. Through all of this we have had our dedicated and experienced attorneys to guide us. Additionally, we have the benefit of in-house stateof-the-art communications, research, government affairs, air safety, and employee assistance departments contributing their expertise to our efforts. These resources are only possible due to AFA-CWA's position as the world's largest flight attendant labor union. Representing over 46,000 flight attendants at 21 airlines, AFA-CWA serves as the voice for flight attendants at their workplace, in the industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.
You are now facing the same destructive environment many AFA-CWA members have faced, bargaining under the threat of bankruptcy. We at AFA-CWA are concerned for your future and the future of our profession. We want to help. We want to offer you the shelter of a larger union with extensive resources and years of experience in negotiating flight attendant contracts. At AFA-CWA flight attendants are our only concern. Our approach to bargaining is not solely through direct negotiations at the bargaining table. It includes effective lobbying, public relations and mobilization. At AFA-CWA we have experienced staff, many of whom are former flight attendants. We know well that the voice management hears best is the voice of the flight attendants. We have trained organizers and the resources to help make this voice heard. APA-CWA flight attendants have watched as NWA management Implemented theIr strategy to permanently replace the NWA mechanics and destroy their union and their careers. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind: NWA management intends to implement the same strategy with its flight attendants. We learned long ago that flight attendants are vulnerable to that strategy, which is why we developed our trademarked intermittent strike strategy, CHAOSTM (Create Havoc Around Our System). CHAOS is much more than a strike tool--it is a mobilization tool for our members and a public relations nightmare for airline management. It is so effective that United Airlines management recently delayed one of its own flights in order to interrogate one of their paying customers simply because he was wearing the distinctive lime green CHAOS t-shirt as he boarded his flight returning from the annual CWA convention. You see, since we have become an autonomous sector of the Communications Workers of America, we have acquired a lot of new friends and advocates for our cause.
INFLIGHT SAFETY PROFESSIONALS
INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS' FEDERATION
AFA-CWA is also a part of the larger American labor movement, a position that cannot be underestimated. As the international president of AFA-CWA, I am also a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council. This means our flight attendants have access to the support of AFL-CIO union members across America in our fight to preserve our jobs with a livable wage, affordable health care and a secure retirement. I know they will all support and welcome your return to the only true house of labor. Many of your fellow NWA co-workers are also worried about your future and they turned to an old friend of all flight attendants, AFA-CWA. We didn't need much encouragement from your co-workers because we live to protect the future of all flight attendants and we would like very much to help support and guide you through this terrible time in our industry. The proposal NWA management has put on the table, giving away many of your jobs, is of great concern. The time is critical. It is crucial to change course if you want to protect your career. We have met and overcome these kinds of proposals before. AFA-CWA would welcome the opportunity to do so again, preserving your jobs and our profession. The flight attendants in this country cannot afford to let such a proposal find its way into our profession through lack of expertise, inexperience, and misguided strategies. AFA-CWA members have taken on these challenges and have developed winning campaigns for our flight attendants. We would like the opportunity to do the same with you. One of the guiding principles of our union has always been to unite all flight attendants in one union with one voice. While you were members of the Teamsters and were affiliated with the AFL-CIO, that wasn't possible. Now it is. We know this has been a tumultuous and confusing time for the Northwest flight attendants. At AFACWA you will be welcomed to an organization that will encourage the healing and unity you need in order to meet the challenges demanded by our industry and airline management. Over the years, you have proven to be a tough and resilient group of workers and have displayed remarkable unity in the past, like your 99.41 % strike vote in your 1999 CAT campaign. AFA-CWA stands ready to help provide the training and resources you will need to show that strength again. Many Northwest Airlines flight attendants have previously been members of AFA-CWA and most Northwest Airlines flight attendants know us well. We have worked together with your former leaders over the years even though we belonged to different unions. Today, I am honored and excited to invite all Northwest Airlines flight attendants to come home to the world's largest flight attendant union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. As with any representational election, there will be many questions and fears about the timing of changing unions. I have committed to your NWA co-workers that if you choose to join together with us I will personally oversee the smoothest transition process possible with the goal of maintaining political peace and the solidarity you deserve. Please sign the enclosed card, return it via US mail, and share the news of this campaign with all of your flying partners. You could be safely home by the time we welcome the New Year. In Solidarity,
~~.(.-~A.~ Pat Friend International President
For more information, please visit: www.nwaafa.org