Full Release with Q&A's
Continental Airlines Seeks Federal Mediation With Its Flight Attendant Union
HOUSTON, June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
Continental Airlines (NYSE
: CAL) today issued the following bulletin to employees to update them on the status of negotiations with its flight attendants, represented by the International Association of Machinists:
Continental Airlines today applied to the National Mediation Board for the immediate appointment of a federal mediator to assist the company in reaching an agreement for pay and benefit reductions with its flight attendants, represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM).
Under the Railway Labor Act, either party may apply for mediation if an agreement is not reached through direct negotiations.
"All of us work on the same team," said Larry Kellner, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines. "Bringing in a federal mediator is the next step in the process of reaching an agreement that's fair to the company, fair to the flight attendants, and fair to all co-workers. It's important that our flight attendants join the rest of our co-workers in participating in pay and benefit reductions. Their share of the reductions remains necessary to help ensure our survival and success."
In addition to this employee bulletin, Continental has issued an employee Q and A explaining the federal mediation process.
What is federal mediation?
Federal mediation is a process that is designed to help the parties in a collective bargaining negotiation to successfully reach agreement. When parties have not reached agreement through direct negotiations, they can ask the National Mediation Board (NMB) to appoint a federal mediator to help them resolve their remaining open issues.
How long will federal mediation last?
We intend to work with the federal mediator to move the process along quickly. Continental Airlines needs these savings as soon as possible, and flight attendants need to join their co-workers who have already taken their pay and benefit reductions.
Can the federal mediator force either Continental or the IAM to agree to a contract?
No. The federal mediator will help the parties reach an agreement but has no authority to impose terms. The federal mediator will help both sides to understand the issues and work out their differences.
The company previously said that it wants to avoid federal mediation, so why are we applying to start the process?
We wanted to give the flight attendants every opportunity to achieve their share of the reductions in the least contentious manner possible -- just as we did with all other work groups. Our culture of dignity and respect requires no less.
However, since we have been unable to resolve all of the issues necessary to reach an agreement, we are seeking the assistance of a federal mediator to move the process along quickly to reach an agreement.
We want to conclude our flight attendant negotiations with an agreement that's fair to the flight attendants, fair to the company, and fair to our co- workers who have already provided the reductions that enabled us to pursue our growth plan. The federal mediation process will enable us to do this.
Will the federal mediation process permit the flight attendants to take smaller pay and benefit cuts than the rest of Continental's employees?
CAL........Continental Airlines....... Work Hard, Fly Right