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Flight attendants union sues Delta

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Association of Flight Attendants is suing Delta Air Lines for allegedly breaching the terms of a bargaining agreement with over 7,000 former Northwest Airlines flight attendants.

The lawsuit stems from the $3.1 billion merger of Northwest and Delta in 2008. Flight attendants who were employed by Delta before the merger are not currently represented by the union, while those from Northwest belong to AFA.

The combined group of flight attendants is scheduled to vote later this year to decide whether the entire workforce will have union representation. Both sides have accused the other of trying to divide the flight attendants before the vote.

According to documents filed in a federal court in Washington, the union claims that Delta has become "increasingly unwilling to resolve disputes with AFA despite its statutory obligations to do so" as the vote on unionization approaches.

In response, Delta said Thursday that the AFA's claims are inaccurate and that the lawsuit is without merit.

"We believe this lawsuit has no merit and can only presume it is meant to divide flight attendants and distract them from the upcoming representation election," Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin said in a statement.

Janette Rook, a Northwest flight attendant and AFA representative, said in a letter to union members that "Delta routinely violates our contract in ways both big and small."

She said Delta has refused to negotiate with flight attendants on "numerous issues" ranging from scheduling policies to health and safety issues. In addition, she criticized the airline for disciplining a union leader "for simply submitting honest feedback" about a scheduling problem this summer.

"We are Delta and we have made our company strong again," she said. "We deserve better than this." To top of page

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