American Airlines Flight Attendants to Vote on Strike Authorization
July 20, 2023: The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union representing American Airlines flight attendants, has approved a strike authorization vote. The upcoming vote comes after several years without a salary increase and prolonged negotiations with the airline.
The APFA’s board of directors gave the green light for the strike authorization vote on Monday. The voting period will commence on July 28 and conclude on August 29, with the results scheduled to be announced on the following day.
Flight Attendants Seek Better Treatment:
The American Airlines flight attendants have not received cost-of-living raises or other quality-of-life enhancements since their contract became amendable in 2019. Despite playing a crucial role in keeping the airline operational during and after the pandemic, their contributions have yet to be adequately recognized in their compensation.
A Struggle for Fair Pay:
The primary cause for potential strike action is the demand for substantial pay increases. The union has proposed an immediate 35% wage hike, followed by a 6% annual raise in subsequent years. Additionally, the APFA seeks to increase the guaranteed paid monthly hours for reserve flight attendants from 75 to 82. The union also wants better 401(k) contributions and matches.
Stagnant Negotiations and Discontent:
The APFA’s frustration with American Airlines management is evident, with the airline still waiting to respond to the economic proposal submitted by the union in March. The prolonged negotiations, further exacerbated by the pandemic, have left the flight attendants feeling unappreciated and undervalued.
A Negotiating Tactic:
It’s important to note that a strike authorization vote does not guarantee an immediate strike. Instead, the union’s strategic move is strengthening its bargaining position. The Railway Labor Act mandates steps, including mediation and cooling-off periods, before a strike can occur. Thus, while a strike is authorized, a process must be followed before any work stoppage occurs.
Implications for Travelers:
The prospect of a strike may raise concerns among travelers, but it’s crucial to remember that strikes in the airline industry rarely happen right after a strike authorization vote. The aim is to increase pressure during negotiations rather than immediately disrupt flights. Mediation and further negotiations will continue, and the National Mediation Board will play a role in the resolution process.
As American Airlines flight attendants prepare for the strike authorization vote, both parties will likely intensify their efforts to reach a mutually agreeable contract. Resolving this dispute will significantly impact the morale and compensation of the airline’s essential staff. Travelers should stay informed about potential developments but can rest assured that significant flight disruptions are unlikely in the immediate future.