Support grows for furloughed TWA workers
March 13, 2007
St. Louis - It has been more than a month since Senator Claire McCaskill stood before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on airline consolidation and stated " I have a great deal of angst over what has happened to the former TWA employees."

It now appears that some Missouri mayors also have a great deal of angst over what has happened to these employees. Former TWA flight attendants were given support in their fight to have their recall rights extended by the Missouri mayors of Kansas City and St. Ann.

In a letter dated February 27 to CEO Gerard Arpey of American Airlines, former TWA flight attendant and current Mayor of St. Ann, MO Carrie Cafazza, urged American Airlines to extend the furlough rights of more than 3,000 flight attendants who lost their jobs after September 11, 2001.

"It is quite disheartening that some of the tax dollars in post 9/11 aid to your airline were not afforded to extend the recall rights of those unspoken victims of 9/11," said Cafazza in her letter. "By extending the recall rights of these furloughed employees, you will have taken one more step in fighting terrorism."

Kay Barnes, mayor of Kansas City, also expressed her support for the extension of recall rights, in a letter dated March 1. "As a former base for TWA, Kansas City residents and the local economy were directly impacted by the American Airlines purchase of TWA in April 2001," writes Barnes. "Many former flight attendants reside in Kansas City and I urge you to extend the recall rights of these dedicated and experienced employees, including a retroactive extension for the flight attendants whose five years have already expired."

When American Airlines purchased TWA in 2001, TWA flight attendants were promised equitable seniority integration but upon arriving at American, found themselves at the bottom of the seniority list and were ultimately furloughed because of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Under a current agreement, American has the right to not recall these flight attendants after a period of five years. This means that as soon as the last of the furloughed TWA flight attendants is erased from the system, company management can begin hiring new flight attendants for much less pay. The first round of recall rights expired last October and will systematically continue until all of these flight attendants are eliminated in July 2008.

"Losing your career, your pension, and all your benefits after decades of service is hard to wrap your mind around," said Roger Graham, a former TWA flight attendant. "We only want to return to our positions as vacancies occur."

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