Northwest Airlines flight attendants, who have a long history of infighting over union politics, decided Wednesday to change union leadership for the third time in five months.
Jay Hong, president of the local union council from the Seattle attendants' base, was elected president of the entire Northwest flight attendants union, which represents about 7,300 members. On a secret-ballot vote, Hong was chosen by his fellow members on the Northwest flight attendants' executive council.
Hong will succeed Mollie Reiley, a 34-year flight attendant from the Twin Cities.
Earlier this year, Reiley and Danny Campbell, a Detroit-based flight attendant, were leaders of the drive to bring the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) to Northwest. They succeeded: In early July, 62 percent of the flight attendants who cast ballots chose the AFA over the independent Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA).
Reiley and Campbell served as interim president and vice president after the AFA became the bargaining representative. Both lost bids to retain those positions. Doug Moe, a former PFAA officer, was running on a slate with Reiley and Campbell, and he failed Wednesday to win election as secretary-treasurer.
The flight attendants union is the only one of seven unions at Northwest that does not have a negotiated contract. Northwest imposed work terms on the attendants on July 31 after the members rejected two concessionary deals.
The flight attendants are scheduled to return to the bargaining table with Northwest Dec. 12.
The new vice president is Andy Wisbacher from the Los Angeles flight base. The new secretary-treasurer is William Ianuzi, an attendant from Binghamton, N.Y., who has worked for Northwest since 1995.
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