Flight Attendants Question American's Merger Plan

Ever since American's management embraced the prospect of a merger with US Airways (after months of dismissing the idea as poppycock), the mantra repeated ad nauseum by both airlines has been consistently sunny: This merger is good for all stakeholders. Customers, employees, shareholders, creditors ... everyone involved will be better off if the airlines are allowed to merge.

The Department of Justice's lawsuit to halt the merger on antitrust grounds takes direct aim at the contention that consumers are best served by further industry consolidation.

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Creditors and shareholders remain convinced that a merger is in the best financial interests. And inasmuch as consolidation will almost certainly lead to higher prices and bigger profits, exactly as the DOJ contends, they are probably right.

Until recently, every employee union of the two carriers had also supported the merger. But yesterday that united front crumbled when the Association of Flight Attendants, representing American Eagle's 1,800 flight attendants, issued a press release questioning the benefits of the merger to its members.

"To date, American Eagle Flight Attendants have not been shown how our contributions will be valued at the new airline. This merger may not be good for all workers."

The release cites the closing of several American Eagle bases and the outsourcing of regional flights, pointing to the fact that US Airways is "calling many of the shots in how the merger, if consummated, will play out," and expressing concern that further cutbacks and concessions are in the offing.

"American Eagle Flight Attendants deserve to know what their role will be in the new combined carrier. AFA leaders encourage US Airways management to present coherent plans that assure us contributions of American Eagle Flight Attendants will be valued through good jobs at the new American."

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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