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Flight attendants greet travelers at airport with picket signs

<i>KCNC</i><br/>Flight attendants said they are frustrated with working conditions
Flight attendants said they are frustrated with working conditions

By Jennifer McRae

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    DENVER, Colorado (KCNC) — Flight attendants who fly in and out of Denver International Airport are raising concerns about two airlines. Picketing flight attendants from United and Southwest Airlines greeted travelers at DIA on Tuesday.

They say they need better working conditions. DIA is just one of 11 airports across the country where union members took to picket lines.

Flight attendants said they are frustrated with working conditions, airline technology failures, reroutes and even threats of pay cuts from employers. Those with the Association of Flight Attendants and Southwest Airlines TWU Local 556 took to the picket lines to get their message out.

The Southwest Airlines union is made up of nearly 18,000 flight attendants. The collective bargaining agreement the union has with Southwest became amendable nearly 4 years ago. Employees say it’s time for a new agreement with better benefits.

“This is our first informational picket, hopefully, it will be our only informational picket,” said a representative with Southwest Airlines TWU Local 556. “We are coming up on four years of contract negotiations, so we recently filed for mediation, our contract negotiations have stalled, so we haven’t seen any meaningful progress.”

Members of the Association of Flight Attendants aren’t picketing for a new contract. They say it’s company culture issues like scheduling and a better work-life balance that they are working toward.

“What we want to see is some respect. Because the pairings, the flight schedules, are built by computers but they’re flown by human beings. If a computer puts a schedule together that is maybe technically legal, but impossible for a human being to fly, that’s what we’re running into,” said Chris Bruton, president, Council 9 Association of Flight Attendants.

Southwest told CBS News Colorado that they encourage employees to express their opinions and look forward to continuing negotiations. United Airlines told CBS News Colorado that they have worked hard to reduce wait times for attendants and that they hope changes will be made about schedules before the holiday season begins.

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