Comair Asks to Void Attendants' Contract

Delta Air Lines Inc. subsidiary Comair has again asked a federal bankruptcy judge to allow the regional airline to impose concessions on its flight attendants that it says it needs to emerge from bankruptcy.

The motion was filed late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, where Judge Adlai Hardin in April turned down Comair's earlier motion to void its contract with the flight attendants. Hearings on the motion are scheduled for July 10 and 11.

Comair spokeswoman Kate Marx said Tuesday the company, based in nearby Erlanger, Ky., has made substantial movement with the flight attendants.

The company said it has reduced its proposed concessions by $1 million to $7.9 million, with most of the savings coming from work rule changes. Average pay for the attendants would be cut by 7.5 percent, she said.

The union representing the workers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, claimed the concessions the company is demanding total more than $8.9 million.

The wage cut the company is proposing would be 11 percent when including a pay raise the attendants are to receive in November, the union said.

Comair rejected the union's latest proposal that would have satisfied the requirements that Hardin laid down to save Comair money while protecting the flight attendants' jobs, Teamsters Local 313 president Connie Slayback said Tuesday. The union has not released details of its proposal.

Hardin ruled that Comair's earlier attempt didn't meet requirements of the bankruptcy law that would allow the rejection of a collective bargaining agreement. He said Comair failed to meet the good faith standard in its negotiations because it had said its demand for $8.9 million in concessions wasn't negotiable.

The judge said his ruling wouldn't prevent a second motion if the two sides were unable to resolve their differences.

The flight attendants have authorized their union leaders to call a strike if their contract is voided.

Unions representing pilots and mechanics have agreed to concessions, but those deals are contingent on the flight attendants accepting cuts as well.

Delta and Comair, with 6,400 employees and 850 flights daily to 108 cities, are trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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