Frontier Flight Attendants Talk with Teamsters

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is attempting to represent Frontier Airlines flight attendants, despite several failed attempts by another organization to unionize the workers.

"The flight attendants approached the Teamsters union for representation," said Matthew Fazakas, president of Teamsters Local 961 in Denver. "They want the protection of a union for job security, working conditions and other reasons."

Fazakas said the Teamsters have started a campaign to gather signatures from Frontier flight attendants. The union must collect authorization cards from at least 35 percent of Frontier's 950 attendants to hold an election. More than 50 percent of the workers would then have to vote for representation.

The Teamsters represents 1.4 million workers, including about 500 Frontier mechanics, aircraft cleaners and material specialists. The organization also represents attendants at more than a dozen smaller regional and charter airlines, including Champion Air, Sun Country and Great Lakes.

Frontier, which is Denver's second-largest airline, has avoided the wage cuts and severe benefit reductions that have become commonplace at other carriers.

The carrier's flight attendants have rejected four other recent attempts at unionizing. Last year, the Association of Flight Attendants came up 45 votes short in an election.

Aside from the Teamsters, another group of Frontier flight attendants is looking to start its own, independent union.

The group says attendants need to lock in wages, job security and benefits.

But it doesn't want representation from an outside union such as the Teamsters, fearing attendants won't get much attention from such a large organization.

"We don't want to have to send all of our money to someone that we know we won't get full support from," said Justie Ellis, president of the group.

Ellis said they already have enough signatures and in August plan to ask a federal organization that oversees such matters for an election. The Teamsters wouldn't disclose when it plans to do the same.

Frontier is against any effort to unionize its workers and says it already has a strong relationship with attendants.

Pilots, mechanics and several other groups at Frontier are unionized, but they represent less than 25 percent of the company's total work force.

"We don't believe a union is necessary," said Ann Block, Frontier's senior vice president of in-flight and administrative services. "We've worked really well with them in the past."

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