Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twa Attendants to Join Machinists 62 Percent Vote to Combine with Stronger Union

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twa Attendants to Join Machinists 62 Percent Vote to Combine with Stronger Union

Article excerpt

The Machinists union now represents the 5,400 flight attendants at Trans World Airlines after a runaway victory in balloting Thursday, and the union said it will present TWA with a more unified and aggressive employee front.

About 20,000 of TWA's 25,000 union workers - 80 percent - belong to the International Association of Machinists, with the attendants joining mechanics, baggage handlers and ticket agents.

"We have a lot more support now," said Kathy Jones, a flight attendant who lives in Maryland Heights, Mo. "We're all in this together and that means a better contract for our members - and a better TWA." The flight attendants are joining a union with 700,000 workers, as opposed to the 5,400-member Independent Federation of Flight Attendants that had represented them. William Scheri, vice president of the Washington-based IAM, said: "There's solidarity in numbers and this will strengthen our position as we approach TWA at the bargaining table." More than 90 percent of TWA's flight attendants - 4,703 of an eligible 5,139 - took part in the balloting, with votes counted at the National Mediation Board in Washington. The IAM captured 62 percent and the St. Louis-based IFFA got 23 percent. A third union, the Association of Flight Attendants, a Washington-based union that is the nation's biggest for flight attendants, won 14 percent of the vote with write-ins. "I'm delighted," said Marcia Rouse, a TWA flight attendant since 1968 who lives near Alton. "I think TWA will now have no choice but to pay attention to us." The IAM will control three seats on the airline's board of directors, noted William O'Driscoll, who presides over IAM District Lodge 142 in Kansas City, which represents the union's TWA employees. "This will give us the strength to deal with any possible merger or buyout," O'Driscoll said. Added Scheri, "The management at TWA (had) better start listening very clearly; otherwise there'll be new management here. It's a proud name they represent and we're going to do everything we can do to turn things around and make it a respected name again in aviation." From St. …

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