In another move that hints that a United-Continental merger is in the works, United is "offering to bring flight attendants up to the pay scale of Continental Airlines…in exchange for adjustments to work rules."
The AP provides further details:
Some experienced flight attendants would get raises of more than 10 percent if they were brought up to the pay of those at Continental, wrote Doug McKeen, United’s senior vice president for labor relations, to the head of the airline’s flight attendant union. In exchange, United wants concessions such as more flexibility over which hotels flight attendants stay at, and reductions in benefits earned by flight attendants who trade away their flying time.
"The reason Continental can afford to pay these rates is that Continental currently enjoys significant advantages over United in the areas of work rules and benefit costs," McKeen wrote in the letter dated Saturday and released on Monday.
The letter said United was proposing to use Continental’s contract "as a basis" for a new agreement at United. It said United was ready for discussions focused on the Continental contract, or other talks "to move the negotiation forward in a positive way."
Sounds to me like the FAs are not going to come out ahead. If Hiltons are going to become Hampton Inns and benefits are going to be reduced, I don’t see why a FA would be satisfied with a small nominal increase in pay. I’ll reserve final judgement until I see the fine print of the new proposal.
Protests are scheduled to take place today at 15 airports including the five U.S. hubs, FRA and NRT. Whatever side you come down on, let’s hope the two sides can agree on something. I’d hate to see FA morale sink even further.