August 31, 2002
Contact: Joe Burns, 202-369-0143 (cell)
Jeff Zack, 202-712-9740
Midwest Express Files Lawsuit, Outcome Will Force Either A Complete Shutdown or Targeted Strikes Against the Airline
Flight Attendants Warn Passengers – DON’T FLY Midwest Express, You May Get Stranded
MILWAUKEE — Lawyers for Midwest Express Airlines have filed suit in federal court in Milwaukee seeking to challenge the intermittent strikes threatened by their flight attendants. The ruling will determine, in effect, whether passengers can expect targeted strikes or a mass shutdown of the entire airline. AFA represents the Midwest Express flight attendants who began CHAOS strike actions at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 30.
“Whether Midwest Express management wins the lawsuit or not, strikes will continue at the airline,” said David Borer, AFA’s General Counsel. “The thrust of the company’s lawsuit seems to be that they would prefer an all-out strike instead of surgical strikes designed to minimize the impact on passengers.”
“American workers have the right to strike. The only court that has considered the legality of CHAOS™ruled that it is a legal strike action. Midwest Express cannot change the law, no matter how much they would like to do so,” said Borer.
Precedent is on the flight attendants’ side. Alaska Airlines challenged CHAOS in federal court and lost. The court enjoined Alaska from disciplining or firing flight attendants for participating in CHAOS, and ordered the airline to reinstate flight attendants held out of service, with back pay.
If Midwest Express loses the lawsuit, CHAOS will continue. If Midwest Express were to win the lawsuit, it would force a complete shutdown of the airline through a mass walkout. The only way Midwest Express can win is to sit down with its flight attendants and negotiate a contract that is good for the airline and its employees.
CHAOS stands for Create Havoc Around Our System™and is a strike action that allows flight attendants to control the airline’s schedule and operations. Flight attendants may stage a mass walkout (like a traditional strike) for a day or a week or strike individual flights — with no warning to management or passengers. Flying on another airline is the only way passengers can avoid being stranded by CHAOS at Midwest Express.
Midwest Express passengers can visit www.afanet.org/ME for more information about CHAOS. Midwest Express’ 465 flight attendants are joined together in AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. Visit us at www.afanet.org.
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