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American Airlines Flight Attendants Vote Overwhelmingly To Authorize Strike



Courtesy of americanair/Instagram
American Airlines flight attendants voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, their union announced Wednesday, although negotiations are still ongoing.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents the more than 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines said the strike authorization vote passed with 99.47% voting yes, out of the more than 93% of eligible flight attendants who participated.
“Today, we sent a clear message to American Airlines management: We are fired up and ready for a contract. They ignore this strike vote at their peril,” APFA National President Julie Hedrick said in a statement. “Our contributions to the success of American Airlines must be recognized and respected.”
According to the union, flight attendants have not seen a raise since 2019, their 401k “lags behind the industry,” and profit sharing “is a joke.” The flight attendants are also asking to be paid for time spent on the ground during boarding. Currently, flight attendants are only paid for flight time.
APFA also proposed scheduling improvements, including adequate layover rest.
“We flew through the pandemic during the heart of covid. We handled stressful situations and unruly passengers because that’s our job. We helped secure pandemic relief, keeping the company out of bankruptcy and securing our jobs. We have endured bankruptcies and mergers. And we kept flying through it all,” the union said.
Pilots at the airline recently ratified a new agreement that includes wage increases of 46% over the four-year contract, the union said.
“The flight attendants are doing the math… they recognize that American Airlines quarterly revenue has skyrocketed to $14.1 billion dollars, which is a 4.7% increase year over year,” said employee and labor relations consultant Jason Greer, co-author of “Bias, Racism and the Brain.”
“From their perspective, they have put their blood, sweat and tears into making the company extremely profitable and they feel they deserve more. In looking at the company’s financials it is extremely hard to understand why American won’t pay their employees more, because they certainly can afford it,” Greer said.
While federal law makes it difficult for airline workers to strike, if they fail to reach an agreement with the airline, federal mediators can authorize their strike after a 30-day cooling-off period.
On Wednesday, the union held informational pickets at a dozen airports across the country.
TMX contributed to this article.