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America West Attendants Warn of Strike

March 10, 1999|From Bloomberg News

PHOENIX — America West Airlines flight attendants warned they will strike some flights beginning March 20 if they can't reach agreement on a labor contract with the ninth-largest U.S. airline.

The Assn. of Flight Attendants, which represents 2,300 members at the America West Holdings Corp. airline unit, said a strike action known as "Chaos" will begin at 12:01 a.m. March 20 if an agreement isn't reached. In Chaos, or Create Havoc Around Our System, workers would disrupt operations by sporadically failing to show up for flights.

Talks between the flight attendants union and the Phoenix-based carrier broke down last month over pay and work benefits, triggering a 30-day countdown to a possible strike.

Last month, the union sent letters to travel agencies in Arizona advising them to book clients on other airlines as the deadline approaches.

The contract negotiations started in late 1994 and became subject to federal mediation in July 1997. The National Mediation Board determined last month that the talks were at an impasse and the union rejected the option for further binding arbitration.

The airline and the union haven't been in negotiations since January, said America West spokesman Stephen Johnson. America West's primary objective is still to negotiate a contract that is fair to the flight attendants as well as other employees and that is affordable for the airline, he said.

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