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Strife In The Sky

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AIR DATE: June 18, 2013

GUEST

Debra Petersen-Barber, flight attendant and lead negotiator

Negotiations started out well. But two years later, Allegiant flight attendants, members of Transport Workers Union Local 577, still don’t have a contract. Management and union reps saw eye to eye on 33 of the worker’s demands, but the sticking point is pay for overtime – time the attendants spend waiting on flight delays.

“We’re stuck somewhere else where our time is the company’s time,” says union negotiator Debra Petersen-Barber. “We feel there’s a level of accountability and responsibility for our time.”

In other words, if a three-hour delay keeps the flight attendant in Wichita, they feel entitled to compensation, since that’s time spent away from their families as a result of their job, and they’re accountable for child care and other expenses.

Also, they want an agreement in writing.

“We want a set of work rules that are very similar to what we have now, but that give us protection from flight delays,” says Petersen-Barber. “Mostly we want the contract to be enforced so nothing can be changed without our agreement.”

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