Northwest Workers to Vote on Joining Union

Three years after Northwest Airlines Corp. flight attendants switched unions, they may switch again under a vote announced Tuesday.

The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents flight attendants at 20 airlines, said more than half of Northwest flight attendants signed cards saying they wanted to switch to that union. That prompted the National Mediation Board to authorize an election, though a date hasn't been set yet, the AFA said.

Northwest flight attendants are now represented by the Professional Flight Attendants Association. Member discontent has been growing at the union, which began representing Northwest flight attendants after they voted to leave the Teamsters in 2003.

On Monday, the Northwest flight attendant union said its members would vote later this summer on whether to join the larger Transport Workers Union.

The AFA, which announced its raid on the same day Northwest filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, said the election rules call for flight attendants to choose between the AFA and the PFAA. If fewer than half of flight attendants vote, they'd have no union at all, the AFA said.

PFAA officials have said their members are thinking about switching unions out of fear of the bankruptcy process. Northwest flight attendants are voting through June 6 on a pay-cut contract reached under the threat that Northwest could impose terms that would be even harsher.


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