Flight attendants oppose ownership of US airlines

Washington DC
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The Flight Attendant Union Coalition opposes easing restrictions on foreign ownership in US airlines, at an event endorsing the re-election of US president Barack Obama today.

Veda Shook, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, says that they foresee outsourcing of US-based cabin crew jobs as a result of increased foreign ownership stakes in the nation's airlines, at the event in Washington DC.

"What we can see with foreign ownership is destroying US-based jobs," she says. "What we see today at many of our bargaining tables is they're trying to outsource our jobs to flight attendants that are based overseas [and increased foreign ownership] would actually give them the ability to hire flight attendants that are based overseas."

Foreign entities are only allowed to own up to 25% of a US-based air carriers under existing regulations.

"We have a keener eye for [contract] language that could slip in," says Portia Reddick White, co-chair of the committee on political education with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) local 556 and a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines, on foreign ownership restrictions. "We want our company to remain profitable but we don't want our jobs outsourced. We are in a new era."

Flight attendants at Dallas-based Southwest approved a new contract that allows for flights over water on 21 September.

The coalition includes the AFA, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and TWU. Represented flight attendants include those at American Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.