Monday, October 11, 2021
Management Announces Increases in Cabin Service Without Returning to pre-COVID Staffing Levels
In September 2020, management informed APFA of their intent to unilaterally reduce staffing on specific aircraft, including the 777-300, 777-200, 787-9, and A321T, without any input from APFA Leadership. APFA subsequently filed a Presidential Grievance, citing unreasonable workloads. American ignored a previous staffing settlement in which they agreed to jointly analyze Flight Attendant tasks and workloads before implementing staffing changes.
Over the past eighteen months, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our work and personal lives. Flight Attendants have made endless sacrifices to keep American operating. In addition to furloughs and displacements, Flight Attendants have been subjected to fatigue-inducing sequences and endless reschedules to fly an intense summer schedule built with too few crews to cover the schedule. We find ourselves in a new role as mask police and continue to bear the brunt of verbal and physical abuse from those unwilling to comply with federal regulations.
Instead of offering a plan to restore aircraft staffing as passenger loads increase, management has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reset staffing to unacceptable levels. We continue to see the return of customer demand, and analysts are predicting robust demand for air travel through the upcoming holiday season and beyond. The time has come to return to pre-COVID staffing levels.
Of particular note is the steady return of business travel. These travelers contribute a significant amount of revenue to American, and we look forward to welcoming them back to our airline as companies return to face-to-face meetings. Returning business travelers will be traveling on our premium aircraft with Flight Attendants faced with unreasonable workloads as premium cabin service returns. For example, on the 777-300 aircraft, the Purser now leaves First Class passengers to work in a different cabin. On the premium A321T transcontinental aircraft, first class passengers are served by the galley Flight Attendant, diminishing the service our First Class customers have come to expect. Our premium customers deserve better.
Additionally, as Flight Attendant assaults are occurring with a frequency never before seen in this industry, permanently reducing cabin staffing contributes to a less safe onboard environment.
Reduced staffing, reduced layover rest, longer duty days, and frequent reschedules are not the recipe for returning American to profitability.
Our jobs have changed, and management should be doing everything possible to improve our work lives. Flight Attendants have spent the last eighteen months moving healthcare workers and life-saving vaccines around the globe and have done so while risking personal health. It is time for management to improve staffing levels along with sequence construction.
APFA National and Base Leadership will continue to push for a return to pre-COVID staffing levels to eliminate unreasonable workloads.