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AFA Applauds U.S. Congress for Backing Aviation Workers’ Right to Strike

Date: May 16, 2024

AFA Applauds U.S. Congress for Backing Aviation Workers’ Right to Strike in Order to Settle Contract Disputes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 14, 2024) —  The Flight Attendant Union, representing over 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines, applauds the 178 Members of Congress, led by Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), who signed the letter to the National Mediation Board urging the agency to use all provisions under the Railway Labor Act to resolve contract negotiations.

“Deadlines are critical for negotiations. Airlines have delayed earned improvements by as much as five years while awarding CEOs and other executives,” said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA representing over 50,000 at 20 airlines. “Flight Attendants are understandably fired up as they struggle to make ends meet. Clearly, a credible strike threat is needed to settle these disputes. We applaud Congresswoman Stansbury and all of the House members who are standing up for aviation workers’ rights and encouraging urgent resolution of protracted negotiations.”

The letter was led by Reps. Melanie Stansbury (NM-1st), Donald Norcross (NJ-1st), Mark Pocan (WI-2nd), Debbie Dingell (MI-6th), Steven Horsford (NV-4th), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1st). It reads in part:

“We are also concerned that the reason for these increasingly prolonged negotiations is due in part to the recent inability of workers to avail themselves of self-help options to facilitate labor disputes. It has long been understood that the best way to achieve labor peace is through collective bargaining backed by the threat of 'self-help' for both parties, including the right to strike for workers. Indeed, workers across a range of professions have secured groundbreaking new contracts in recent years, many of which were won due to workers’ credible ability to exercise self-help options.”

AFA is in negotiations at 13 of our 20-represented airlines, including Air Wisconsin, Alaska Airlines, and Omni Air who have all authorized strikes, if necessary. We also stand in solidarity with our union siblings at American Airlines. Without a credible threat of a strike, or a release from mediation into a 30 day cooling-off-period ending with a strike deadline, management across the industry has prolonged negotiations for years. There have only been two releases from mediation with strike deadlines since 2006, compared to dozens of releases in the 1980s and 1990s that led to ratified agreements. 

Flight Attendants will conduct a second, coordinated worldwide protest this year on June 13, 2024. Across the industry we’re fighting for a living wage, pay for all of our time on the job, improved flexibility for more control of our schedules, no additional employee costs or reductions to healthcare, and retirement security.

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