SAN DIEGO — The Assn. of Flight Attendants union has asked the National Mediation Board to hold an election that could turn out Teamsters Union Local 2707 as the bargaining agent for Pacific Southwest Airlines Inc.'s 925 in-flight personnel.
The Teamsters local, which has represented the flight attendants since 1980, would lose about 25% of PSA rank-and-file membership should AFA win the representation election. In addition to the flight attendants, Local 2707 also represents 3,000 PSA reservations agents, maintenance and operations personnel.
The representation bid comes just as USAir is trying to conclude its $400-million acquisition of PSA. Disgruntled PSA flight attendants have been pushing their Teamsters leaders to approve contract modifications being demanded by USAir as part of its bid for PSA, according to union members who asked not to be named.
The contract sections USAir wants modified protect employee income and grant unions extended representational rights should PSA be acquired by another airline. PSA's 600 pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Assn., and about 50 employees represented by two smaller unions have agreed to modify their union contracts as demanded by USAir.
So far, PSA has been unable to negotiate contract modifications with the Teamsters, which represents the 925 flight attendants, 931 maintenance staff members, 1,484 operations staff members and 524 reservations agents.
The failure to negotiate an agreement prompted a majority of PSA's flight attendants to sign petitions in January demanding that the Teamsters agree to the labor contract modifications demanded by USAir. A group of PSA employees calling themselves the Committee for Fair Representation circulated the petitions, which were mailed to Teamsters leaders.
The AFA is the majority union for the nation's flight attendants; it represents 23,000 workers on 14 airlines, including USAir. The AFA began gathering election cards after a group of disgruntled flight attendants represented by the Teamsters "came to us and said they wanted to be organized by AFA," said AFA spokeswoman Judy Stack.
Perhaps 85% of PSA flight attendants signed the cards, according to an employee who asked not to be identified.
A simple majority vote would be required to call an election, and it would take a simple majority vote to turn out the Teamsters, according to an NMB spokesman. The NMB is inspecting the election cards the AFA collected, but an election date will not be set until after the board determines whether the signatures on them are legitimate, the spokesman said Wednesday.