A New Union for United

And then there were four. Apparently three factions fighting within the ranks of the United Airlines flight attendants wasn’t enough so a new group – the United Flight Attendants Association – has formed, seeking to oust the current union and take over responsibility for representation of the company’s cabin crew. The UFAA’s position is strong on rhetoric, noting that it has representation from all three pre-merger subsidiaries and that it is focused on directly representing the flight attendants and only the United flight attendants rather than being part of a broader group.

Since the merger many – if not most – UAL flight attendants have become disillusioned and dissatisfied with AFA-CWA, which is not meeting our needs and has grown too big, too political, too autocratic and too expensive. … We can no longer afford to be represented by a top-down business union that is perpetuating itself off the sweat of our brows and the money in our wallets! It’s time for a change. We deserve the BEST union, one that is more democratic, more responsive to our wishes and needs, and “driven” by its members.

What is unclear, however, is how the United Flight Attendants Association intends to solve the largest problem the flight attendants face: A lack of consistent negotiating stance with the company. There is no doubt that the flight attendant integration process has been a massive failure for the merger. But a large part of that comes from very different pre-merger contracts and conflict within the group as to what should be presented to management as the bargaining position. It is unclear how adding a new union will solve that problem, especially with all the effort which will now be put in to gathering signatures and pursuing a certification vote rather than reaching consensus internally and negotiating with management. And while the group is strong in noting support from all three subsidiaries there is a distinct presence of legacy Continental Airlines folks with names in bold.

Maybe the AFA-CWA is the wrong union for United Airlines. But it is not clear that this is the solution to that problem right now.

Thanks, TBF for info about the efforts.

Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.

Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Unions have long outlived their purpose.

    They (UA FAs) should explore the possibility of following the Delta flight attendants’ footsteps.

    1. @Golfingboy; Oh for Christ’s sake… United is NOT Delta… Unions are a mandatory fact of life for employee groups here, whether we want them or not!

Comments are closed.