American Airlines flight attendants picket, threaten to strike ahead...
October 25, 2023
American Airlines flight attendants picket, threaten to strike ahead of holiday travel if contract demands aren't met
WFAA CHANNEL 8
Adriana De Alba
October 25, 2023
Flight attendants are demanding a 33% pay raise and better work/life balance. Currently, AA Flight Attendants are still working under pay negotiated in 2014.
FORT WORTH, Texas — As the workday came to a close atAmerican Airlinesheadquarters along Trinity Boulevard in Fort Worth, dozens of flight attendants stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they picketed outside.
Flight attendants are ramping up a strike threat ahead of the holiday travel season. It comes as contract negotiations are at an impasse.
Julie Hedrick, the National President of the American Association of Professional Flight Attendants joined the picket line Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re here because we don’t feel like American Airlines has heard us yet,” Hedrick said. “We’re ready for a contract and tired of waiting. We will do whatever it takes to go on strike against the world’s largest airline.”
Flight attendants are demanding a 33% pay raise and better work/life balance, Hedrick told WFAA. Currently, AA Flight Attendants are still working under pay and vacation policies negotiated in 2014, according to the APFA.
“We haven’t had a raise in almost five years,” Hedrick said. “During that same time, our CEO took a bonus of $2.75 million.”
The deadline to come to an agreement is Nov. 17. If demands aren’t met, 26,000 flight attendants will ask to be released.
There’s a step-by-step process in place before any strike could take place. Under the Railway Labor Act, if substantial movement towards concluding these negotiations isn’t made, members of the National Mediation Board would release APFA and American Airlines into a 30-day cooling-off period, after which American’s 26,000-plus flight attendants would have the ability to strike in support of contract demands.
The exact timing of when that strike could actually begin is unclear, but it could happen before the end of the year, Hedrick said.
Following the picket, WFAA reached out to American Airlines. In a statement, the airline said: “We continue to meet regularly with APFA and are confident that we’ll reach an agreement American’s flight attendants have earned.”
Evelyn Konen, an AA flight attendant of 10 years flew from her home base of Los Angeles to North Texas on her day off join the picket.
“I had to advocate for myself first. We do a consistently thankless job and deserve a raise,” Konen said. “At the time I’m sitting in the airport, I’m not getting paid. It’s a lot of unpaid time to be away from home.”
Another flight attendant, Michael Sosa picketed on Wednesday. While Dallas is his home base, he moved to Houston in order to afford the cost of living. Sosa, a flight attendant since 2015, said he struggles to pay his bills and as a result, has to pick up extra flights on his days off to makes ends meet.
“It gets frustrating,” Sosa said. “We wanna [sic] be able to live, pay our bills, see our families. Flight attendants lost their lives on the line during COVID. We were called profanities, physically assaulted during COVID. We paid the price, we carried this airline through, and we just wanna get paid what we deserve.”
As the APFA pressures management to meet their demands, Hedrick said their wish is to avoid a strike by reached a deal soon.