Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mesa F/As unhappy with airline's China plans

Mesa Air Group logoFlight attendants at Mesa Airlines are skeptical about management's commitment to improving the quality of life of their employees. So says the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing Mesa's cabin crew.

Mesa flight attendants, among the lowest paid in the industry, have been in negotiations for over a year regarding pay increases and quality of life adjustments, among other issues. The Mesa flight attendants became more demoralized recently when the airline's management announced plans to partner with Shenzhen Airlines to form a new carrier in China.

Brian Manning, president of the Mesa AFA said, "At this time, when we have so many serious issues to address, we need to know that management is committed to our negotiations and not distracted by their legal issues. Management thinks that we should sit across the table and accept a cost-neutral agreement, yet in the meantime they are sending tens of millions of dollars over to China to start a new airline. This investment in a new airline was made possible by the hard work of flight attendants and other employees."

AFA contends that the money being used to expand the airline's business overseas has come from employees' pockets, in the form of wage concessions -- concessions the company claimed it needed to stay afloat.

Brian Manning said, "Management insists that there be no improvements in the flight attendant contract because improvements cost money. For years they have insisted that their employees take concessions as if the company is failing. But then they announce that they have formed a $65 million airline in China. The money that Mesa management has used to expand their airline, in ways that are not beneficial to flight attendants, comes from the pockets of their employees. It is time that this shameful practice stops."