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9.26.23 – Solidarity: Doing Things Differently

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Solidarity: Doing Things Differently

We have been doing many things differently in this round of bargaining here at APFA. Early on, we decided that transparency would be our greatest strength, so we began communicating about what we were proposing and what the company was proposing. That was a big change because, at APFA in the past, negotiations were treated as a closely guarded secret.

But we also understand that the days of thinking we can simply bargain alone are over. American Airlines is a multibillion dollar corporation and is part of an airline industry that shares common ownership and approaches to labor relations.

The problems we face are not unique to American Airlines. Flight Attendants across the industry are fighting to be paid for their contribution, to preserve and expand work rules, and to break out of a shared industry-wide economic framework that seeks to limit what Flight Attendants can earn. Flight Attendants at American, Southwest, United, and Alaska are bargaining, and the Association of Flight Attendants- CWA (AFA-CWA) has an active organizing drive at Delta. We truly are in a shared struggle.

Working Together

In our bargaining, we have greatly benefited from the Association of Flight Attendants- CWA making Joe Burns available to be our lead negotiator at the bargaining table and our overall strategist for our negotiations. Joe has decades of experience bargaining against American Airlines and its predecessor carriers and early on counseled us to take an aggressive, transparent approach to these negotiations.

We invited Joe to assist us in bargaining with the support of the APFA Board of Directors. For those who want more background, Joe Burns is an attorney licensed in Minnesota with decades of experience bargaining labor contracts. He is a graduate of New York University School of Law, one of the country’s top law schools. He has written three books on labor theory, including on the right to strike, and is a highly respected commentator on labor matters. He has taken on nearly every employer in the airline industry and is very familiar with Flight Attendant contracts. We couldn’t find a better negotiator.

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APFA Negotiating Committee and Lead Negotiating Attorney
Standing (L to R): Wendy Oswald (LAX), Timothy Legeros (MIA), Susan Wroble (ORD), Kelly Hagan (ORD), Brain Morgan (PHL), Reese Cole (ORD).
Seated (L to R): Joe Burns, Julie Hedrick (LAX)

Joe is also the Director of Collective Bargaining and General Counsel for the Association of Flight Attendants- CWA, and is helping lead our negotiations. We are deeply appreciative to AFA- CWA for making him available, as his decades of experience and expertise simply cannot be recreated. We are going to need it going forward, as we are in a fight for the future of Flight Attendant careers industry-wide.

Our Contract Action Team received valuable organizing and media training from AFA- CWA, and we have also utilized Labor Notes for our organizing training. Part of our success thus far has been reaching out to other unions and labor organizations and learning new ways of doing things.

Fighting for the Right to Strike

We know the Flight Attendants are ready to strike, as evidenced by our 99.47% strike vote. We are confident in our ability to strike smart and win. But the remaining question is whether the Federal government will impede our ability to strike by denying us a release into a thirty-day cooling-off period. Thus, our struggle has both a political and economic dimension.

That means our bargaining must be strategic. As we reported in our previous hotline, to be granted a release, we need to narrow the number of open issues and continue to fight for those issues that are most important to our Flight Attendants. At our last session, we presented the company with a comprehensive proposal of all economic and non-economic issues.

Now, the ball is in management’s court.

Simply put, we are part of the larger labor movement and the shared struggle of working people against corporate greed. To win our battle, we need the support of the entire labor movement, including political support and ties in DC, and We Are Ready. 

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click photo to enlarge
Top row (L to R): 2022 NYC Labor Day Parade; Writer’s Guild (WGA)/ SAG-AFTRA Joint Picket.
Middle row (L to R): 2022 Labor Notes Conference; United Airlines DCA Picket.
Bottom row (L to R): TWU 556 Picket, Dallas Love Field; WGA/APFA Crossover Picket, NYC.

We are excited about our bargaining and our contract campaign. Many of our Members have joined the picket lines of the actors, screenwriters, striking autoworkers, and our flying partners at other airlines. The more we talk with other groups of workers, the more we realize just how much we have in common and how we face a common enemy.

In Solidarity,

Your APFA Negotiating Committee

Reese Cole
Kelly J. Hagan
Julie Hedrick
Timothy Legeros
Brian Morgan
Wendy Oswald
Susan Wroble
Joe Burns, Lead Negotiating Attorney

[email protected]

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

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