American Airlines flight attendants move a step closer to a strike

The union that represents American Airlines flight attendants has asked to be released from further bargaining obligations with American. 

Should the National Mediation Board grant that request, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) would be allowed to strike after a 30-day cooling-down period, per regulations set forth in the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor relations in the airline industry.

“We are taking this step because flight attendants are tired of waiting and tired of the overall disrespect from American Airlines,” APFA said in a statement on Monday. “Across the country, workers are standing up against corporate greed and demanding improvements. We are prepared and willing to do what it takes to secure the agreement we deserve.”

APFA is calling for wage increases of 50% over a four-year contract. American has offered a 19% increase over five years, according to an APFA summary. The union is also asking for a variety of other contract improvements, including an increase from 75 to 80 in the number of paid hours its members are guaranteed monthly. 

  • Related: As contract talks drag, flight attendants say they’re prepared to strike

The union said Monday that American’s management did not bring a new offer to federally supervised mediations in Phoenix last week. American says that assertion is inaccurate. 

“Since resuming negotiations in 2021, the company has routinely met with APFA and presented proposals that maintain our commitment to paying our team members well and competitively,” the company said. “For months now, we’ve had an industry-leading economic proposal on the table, and we continue to make progress on other items, including as recently as last week.”

American also emphasized that there is no possibility of a strike over this year’s holiday season. 

APFA’s contract with American became amendable in 2019 and its members haven’t received a raise since January of that year, the union’s president Julie Hedrick wrote in her letter to the National Mediation Board.

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