APFA President Laura Glading: “We proved the value of our workgroup”
“The ads are true: the new American has arrived,” said APFA President Laura Glading. “Our team was tenacious, they were well-prepared, and in the end they brought home an outstanding agreement. They proved to the company, in black and white, the value flight attendants bring to the new American. I couldn’t be more proud of their work. And to the company’s credit, they really stepped up in a way that puts the entire industry on notice.”
By supporting the US Airways bid to merge with American in bankruptcy and pushing the plan from inside the Chapter 11 proceedings, APFA played a critical role in bringing together the two airlines last year. Part of the agreement APFA struck with US Airways was a fast and direct path to an industry-leading contract following the merger’s close. The parties came up with a protocol that provided expedited contract negotiations followed by a backstop of interest arbitration. The union’s goal was to achieve the highest wages and best work rules the network carriers during negotiations, leaving nothing to arbitration. That goal was achieved on Friday, the final day of negotiations.
“None of this would have happened without the merger,” Glading said. “In my earliest conversations with [American CEO] Doug Parker and [American President] Scott Kirby, they talked about building the greatest airline in the world. We agreed that in order for that to happen, the employees needed to be compensated appropriately. And we worked together for almost three years to make that happen. This is a truly momentous accomplishment for the flight attendants.”
The agreement will not become a contract unless and until it is ratified by a vote of the membership. Next week, the APFA Executive Committee will decide whether to send the tentative agreement to the membership for approval. There is a 30-day balloting period for APFA contract ratification. All flight attendants – legacy American and legacy US Airways – who are dues-current APFA members will have the right to vote on the agreement. A majority of the valid votes cast decides whether the agreement becomes the contract.
ABOUT APFA: The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, founded in 1977, represents the more than 24,500 active flight attendants at American Airlines. In November 2011, American’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Throughout the bankruptcy trial, APFA President Laura Glading served on the Unsecured Creditors’ Committee where she advocated for the American Airlines Flight Attendants. In February 2013, American and US Airways announced their intention to combine the carriers and on December 9, 2013, AA exited bankruptcy and the merger was final. On September 2, 2014, APFA was certified as the union representing the combined flight attendant workgroup at American.