Hawaii Gets A Visit From A Flight Attendants Union President

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA paid an important visit to Hawaii last week. The union leader was sent to intervene in ongoing bargaining between Hawaiian Airlines and its flight attendants.

Hawaiian Airlines Aircraft Sky
A flight attendants’ union president headed west to pay a special visit to Hawaiian Airlines on Thursday. Photo: Airbus

Historic event

The airline and its flight attendants have been going through negotiations since a contract became amendable on December 31st, 2016. Additionally, the two parties have been in mediation since the end of 2018.

In November, the majority of the attendants voted to authorize a strike on the carrier. Moreover, all but one percent voted in favor of this decision. One of the major goals for the attendants is a proper wage increase.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus
Contract talks between Hawaiian leadership and its flight attendants have been going on for nearly four years. Photo: Airbus

Special guest

AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson shared the reasoning behind her visit to the airline. The Boston-based United Airlines flight attendant traveled to Hawaii to help out at the last stages of negotiations of the contract.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Nelson said the following at a press conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:

“When we get to the end of very hot bargaining, difficult bargaining, I do get involved at the end stages … to provide some added oomph at the table to help the airline understand how serious we are as a union how much of our resources we are putting into this and that if they don’t take that seriously then we know how to put pressure on them.”

Nelson went on to describe her visit as historic as the union leadership did not have a reason to go to Hawaii before. Additionally, the flight attendants have never even had to take a strike vote prior to the recent progressions.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus Airport
Last week’s event was the first time an AFA-CWA president paid a visit to the island to see Hawaiian. Photo: Airbus

Final stages

Simple Flying reached out to Hawaii Airlines for comment on the visit from the president of the union. A spokesman for the carrier informed us that his company is committed to offering its flight attendants wages that are in line with the largest airlines in the United States.

It shared that initiatives include “raises at the top of the scale of more than 20% at date of signing – to $67 per hour.”

The firm is also looking to make further progress with its staff following Nelson’s visit. Altogether, it is looking to move the contract to a highly-anticipated conclusion.

Despite the ongoing talks and plans of strikes, the attendants tried not to disrupt travel for its customers. In December, several of them protested at Honolulu Airport by helping passengers with their baggage. Ultimately, it looks like the negotiations are finally coming to a close following the visit from the union president.

What are your thoughts about this visit from the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.