US Airways Union Leader Hits the Road to Sell Flight Attendant Deal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- The tentative contract between US Airways ( LCC) and its flight attendants has drawn criticism on Facebook and elsewhere, but union president Mike Flores insists he is confident of approval.

Flores, president of the US Airways chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, is in the middle of a grueling series of "road shows" to explain the contract to members, making 21 stops in 28 days. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh, once the airline's largest hub, now just another airport. Flores' tour will end March 14 and ballots, mailed last week, will be counted March 30.

"We chose to beat Facebook by going face to face with members," Flores declared. "I am not a Facebook person. I like to deal with real faces, and we've met face to face with almost 20% of the members. I am looking at them and I know they are voting yes." The carrier has 6,751 flight attendants.

The reception to a tentative deal during 1995 road shows was far different, Flores recalled. "The negotiating committee couldn't even get through its presentation," he said. "They were booed out of the room. Nothing like that is happening now."

After the 1995 deal was rejected, members continued under a 1993 agreement until 2000, when management offered more generous terms in hopes of removing a barrier to a planned merger with United ( UAL) -- which never occurred. Subsequently, the contract was reworked during the carrier's two bankruptcies.

Last month, US Airways and the AFA reached a tentative agreement. In Phoenix, the union's local executive council endorsed the deal. The Philadelphia and Washington councils are neutral. The Charlotte council, which is opposed, declined to endorse.

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