AFA Wins Lawsuit over United Scope Violation
After 10 years of litigation, a federal arbitrator awarded United Airlines flight attendants $8.89 million in connection with a claim by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) that United’s 1992 purchase of the original Air Wisconsin violated a so-called scope side letter in its collective-bargaining agreement. The scope clause, included in a flight-attendant contract signed by AFA and United in 1986, required the airline to use flight attendants from the mainline seniority list for all its wholly owned subsidiaries. When United bought Air Wisconsin in 1992, it chose to ignore the provision, sparking a protracted court battle that finally ended April 27.
When AFA issued its grievance, United initially refused to submit to arbitration, sending the issue to court. After United lost the case, the violation went before United’s grievance hearing board, which in 1998 issued a finding that the airline had, in fact, violated the contract.