Friday, January 19, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Paul Hartshorn, Jr.
American Airlines Flight Attendants Make Second Request for Release from Mediation
Union and management reach impasse in contract talks- Union renews request for release into a 30-day cooling-off period.
EULESS, Texas (January 19, 2024) – Today, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing more than 27,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines are requesting a release from mediation for a second time. If granted, this would be an important step toward a strike.
APFA wrote the members of the National Mediation Board (NMB), stating that contract negotiations are at an impasse. We have requested a meeting with NMB board members to advance our case that negotiations are deadlocked and Flight Attendants should be free to strike American Airlines. APFA renewed a request to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a proffer of arbitration/release to strike, which would start the clock on a 30-day cooling-off period, after which Flight Attendants would be free to strike American Airlines.
The reason, explained Julie Hedrick, National President of APFA, is that Flight Attendants are not seeing significant movement from American Airlines that would allow both sides to reach a deal.
“American management adheres to an economic framework that ignores the sacrifices made by 27,000 Flight Attendants,” said Hedrick. “The absence of any economic proposal from management since September 2023 has fueled the determination of Flight Attendants to initiate a strike at the world’s largest airline.”
Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs the collective bargaining agreements between Flight Attendant Unions and the airlines, a 30-day cooling-off period follows release from mediation if approved. During this time, the Union would prepare to enact a strike following the 30 days. American Airlines would still be able to present a deal during that period.
Protracted contract negotiations between American Airlines and its Flight Attendants mean that Flight Attendants have not received wage increases since 2019. Many Flight Attendants are struggling to make ends meet, while managers at American have received wage increases and executives have gifted themselves bonuses in the millions.
Left without raises for more than five years, Flight Attendants’ roles are devalued and their livelihood impacted, Hedrick explained.
“Flight Attendants are unified in demanding the improvements we rightly deserve,” she said. “Our resounding message to American Airlines is clear: Flight Attendants stand prepared to take action to secure the long-overdue improvements we deserve.”
An August 2023 vote by Flight Attendants to authorize a strike produced a 99.47% ‘YES’ vote from APFA members, with 93% participation. Flight Attendants at American Airlines are willing to put their livelihoods on the line to secure deserved improvements in the contract, including pay, per diem, and much-needed time off.
“We have kept American Airlines flying during the tough times, and now we are ready to see the improvements we need,” Hedrick said. “Today, we are working more for less while tolerating a loss in our quality of life. This can be improved with a new collective bargaining agreement that appropriately values the role Flight Attendants.”