Air Transport World

How accelerated training met challenge of flight attendants' strike at TWA.

How accelerated training met challenge of flight attendants' strike at TWA

The outcome of a confrontation between management and labor often depends on which side blinks first. In pre-deregulation days, when higher labor costs could be recovered through fare increases, it was usually management that blinked. In post-deregulation, when competition from new low-cost airlines threatened the very existence of old-line carriers, it was more often labor that blinked. But when neither side blinks the outcome is a strike, which usually ends when one or both parties is finally ready to compromise.

The confrontation last year between Trans World Airlines (TWA) and the flight attendants' union did result in a strike but did not end in a compromise. Chairman Carl Icahn insisted he had to get wage and work concessions from the attendants to go along with those he had obtained from the other unions. Vicki Frankovich, president of the Independent Federation of Flight Attendants (IFFA), said the airline was demanding too much from her members. Neither side was ready to blink. So IFFA went on stike. And Icahn still has not blinked.

He said he would not give in nor would he shut down the airline but would staff the cabins with new hires and IFFA members willing to cross the picket lines. He warned also that once the new hires went on active duty they would be permanent employes and would not be kicked out of their jobs later to make room for strikers who wished to return to work. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.