TEXAS- The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing over 27,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines (AA), has submitted a second request for release from mediation on Jan 19, 2024. If this request is approved, it would mark a crucial step towards a potential strike.
APFA has communicated with the members of the National Mediation Board (NMB), expressing that contract negotiations have reached a standstill.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Mediation
A meeting with NMB board members has been sought to present the case that negotiations are at an impasse, warranting Flight Attendants to have the freedom to initiate a strike against American Airlines.
APFA has reissued its request to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for an offer of arbitration/release to strike. This would trigger a 30-day cooling-off period, after which Flight Attendants would be legally permitted to commence a strike against American Airlines.
The rationale, as articulated by Julie Hedrick, the National President of APFA, is that there hasn’t been substantial progress from American Airlines that would facilitate reaching a mutually agreeable deal.
“The economic framework adhered to by American management disregards the sacrifices made by 27,000 Flight Attendants,” stated Hedrick.
“The absence of any economic proposal from management since September 2023 has strengthened the resolve of Flight Attendants to initiate a strike at the world’s largest airline.”Julie Hedrick, the National President of APFA
Preparation for Strike
According to the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements between Flight Attendant Unions and airlines, a 30-day cooling-off period ensues if the release from mediation is approved.
During this period, the Union would make preparations for a potential strike after the 30 days, while American Airlines retains the option to present a deal.
Extended contract negotiations between American Airlines and its Flight Attendants have resulted in no wage increases for Flight Attendants since 2019.
While Flight Attendants face financial challenges, managers at American have received wage increases, and executives have rewarded themselves with bonuses in the millions.
Julie Hedrick elaborated that, deprived of raises for over five years, Flight Attendants’ roles have been devalued, significantly impacting their livelihoods. “Flight Attendants are united in demanding the improvements we rightfully deserve,” she asserted.
“Our unequivocal message to American Airlines is clear: Flight Attendants are ready to take action to secure the long-overdue improvements we deserve.”Julie Hedrick, the National President of APFA
In the August 2023 vote authorizing a strike, Flight Attendants demonstrated overwhelming support with a 99.47% ‘YES’ vote from APFA members, marking a significant 93% participation rate.
Flight Attendants at American Airlines are prepared to take a stand, risking their livelihoods to secure necessary improvements in the contract, encompassing aspects such as pay, per diem, and much-needed time off.
“We have been the backbone of American Airlines during challenging times, and now we are ready to witness the improvements we deserve. Currently, we find ourselves working more for less, enduring a decline in our quality of life. This situation can be rectified through a new collective bargaining agreement that appropriately recognizes the vital role of Flight Attendants,” asserted Hedrick
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