Pan Am, Flight Attendants Break Off Contract Talks
NEW YORK (AP) _ Officials of ailing Pan Am Corp. and its flight attendants union broke off discussions on a new contract Tuesday after the talks reached a stalemate, union representatives announced Wednesday.
Pan Am management has been seeking $90 million in wage reductions from the Independent Union of Flight Attendants over three years, as part of its plan for financial recovery.
The union put a counter-proposal involving smaller wage cuts on the table at the meeting, but it was flatly rejected by the company without discussion, IUFA spokeswoman Lois Schneider told The Associated Press. She said Pan Am officials asked the federal government Wednesday to bring a mediator into the negotiations.No new contract talks have been scheduled.
Pan Am representatives were unavailable for comment late Wednesday when the union announcement was made.
″At this point, we’re considering options,″ Ms. Schneider said.
The flight attendants’ contract expires on Aug. 31. Under federal labor rules, the union would be permitted to strike at the end of a 30-day ″cooling-off″ period following that date.
Margaret Brennan, the union’s president, said in a statement that Pan Am’s latest action shows it intends to take labor relations ″back to the dark ages.″ She asked for a congressional investigation into Pan Am and its ″blatant attempt to make a mockery of the labor negotiation process.″
Members of the largest union at Pan Am, the Transport Workers, recently rejected a wage freeze agreement that would have saved the company an estimated $81 million over three years.
Pan Am had a net loss of $265.3 million last year and is seeking about $540 million over three years in pay cuts and other concessions to turn itself around. Its chairman, Thomas Plaskett, recently said the airline might sell its Latin American routes if labor concessions aren’t made.
The two unions representing pilots and flight engineers at Pan Am agreed earlier this year to wage cuts totaling about $240 million over three years.
In addition, Pan Am has imposed $35 million in cuts under federal labor rules on employees represented by the Teamsters union.