APFA issued this statement:
Frustrated Flight Attendants will come face to face with company executives at a picket at American Airlines headquarters on Thursday, November 16th. With signs that read “We Are Ready to Strike!” and “You Make Billions. I Can’t Pay Rent!” in hand, they will chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, corporate greed has got to go!” They are among the thousands of Flight Attendants picketing at American Airlines cities across the country just days before one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, with an important message: Flight Attendants are ready to strike American Airlines.
“Thankfulness and gratitude are not sentiments that our executives seem to understand when it comes to their front-line workforce,” said Julie Hedrick, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the Union representing more than 26,000 Flight Attendants at American. “We are ready to back our words with action; we are ready to strike.”
In mediated contract negotiations between APFA and the carrier, American Airlines management has refused to bring a compensation package and other much-needed contract improvements needed by Flight Attendants. APFA gave American a deadline to present a ratifiable offer during this week’s negotiations session, or the Union is prepared to ask for release from mediation. This is the next step towards a strike.
“No one wants a strike, but this has gone on too long,” Hedrick said. “Our Flight Attendants need relief now – and they are willing to put their livelihoods on the line to ensure that the improvements all Flight Attendants need are won. This fight goes well beyond us; it is a fight for all working-class Americans who are fed up with being forgotten and neglected while companies report record profits.”
Working under a contract negotiated in 2014 and without a raise since 2019, Flight Attendants are front-line workers left shouldering the weight of inflation without the compensation needed to keep pace with the industry. They work more for less and are forced to tolerate a loss of quality of life that could be improved with a new collective bargaining agreement.
Using what little time off they have managed to scrape together, thousands of American Airlines Flight Attendants are volunteering their time to take to the picket lines in thirteen cities across the U.S., from Boston to Los Angeles, to fight corporate greed with their voices and their message: We Are Ready to strike if American Airlines does not bring needed improvements to the negotiating table.
While American Airlines reports record profits this year, Flight Attendants on the front lines tolerate another year without salary increases, a fight growing more critical by the day. American Airlines Flight Attendants are still working under pay and vacation provisions negotiated in 2014. While managers have received bonuses and incentives, Flight Attendants have not received raises since 2019 and are struggling to make ends meet despite the heroics shown during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, American Airlines executives and management this year gifted themselves handsome bonuses. CEO Robert Isom, for example, received a $2.75 million bonus and $8.25 million worth of restricted stock grants, according to a Sept. 20 regulatory filing. He makes a base salary of $1.3 million, a $2.6 million potential bonus and a long-term incentive grant of $11.25 million. Other company executives also received bonuses.
“Flight Attendants are ready to take the steps necessary toward a strike as soon as this holiday season,” Hedrick said. “We have advised management to respond meaningfully to the economic and non-economic proposals we’ve passed at the negotiating table. We don’t want to strike — but we will take those steps if management doesn’t respond meaningfully.”
On the heels of a 99.47% strike authorization ‘yes’ vote with 93% participation, American’s Flight Attendants have made it clear that settling for anything other than an industry-leading agreement is not an option.