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American Airlines Flight Attendants Have Paid Less Than 3% of $3 Million They Owe in Union Dues Despite Threat of Termination

American Airlines Flight Attendants Have Paid Less Than 3% of $3 Million They Owe in Union Dues Despite Threat of Termination

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Flight attendants at American Airlines have only cleared $80,000 of a $3 million debt pile of overdue union dues that are owed to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents the airline’s 28,000 inflight crew members.

The massive bill for late union dues was revealed in March after APFA threatened to send debt collectors after persistent offenders who refused to even try to clear their debts.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the union is legally entitled to represent every single mainline AA flight attendant, and crew members don’t get a choice whether or not to join the union.

In fact, union membership is written into the collective labor agreement and racking up unpaid union dues could land flight attendants in hot water including termination in extreme cases.

With AA’s apparent eagerness to enforce labor agreements to the letter and terminations allegedly running at three times the rate of pre-pandemic levels, the threat of being sacked for refusing to pay union isn’t just an idle one.

During a recent meeting of the union’s executive committee, APFA revealed that some flight attendants had requested payment plans, while improved internal processes should prevent flight attendants from racking up arrears in the future.

The pandemic is likely to have been a big reason why so many flight attendants are now classed by the union as in ‘bad standing’ because many crew members took some form of leave of absence or had their pay and working time reduced.

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Earlier this month, the union lashed out at the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline, accusing it of “stuffing as much time” into flight attendant rosters as possible with “zero consideration” for the well-being of crew members.

Rather than addressing the “root problems”, the union claims AA is simply putting even more flight attendants on reserve duty so that they can be called from standby to fill in the gaps in broken trip sequences.

View Comments (9)
  • No one should not be forced to join a union as this is still a free country. That is as long as the democrats don’t get their way turning us into a communist country with Brandon with his dementia leading the way. People who are pro-union are totally brainwashed only being able to function by what the union tells them to do and who to vote for. They can’t even see past their hatred for Trump and being okay with a brandon destroying our country. It’s almost like being a Stepford wife not being able to think on your own.

    • That’s quite the statement about dementia and brain washing coming from someone who seemingly doesn’t realize the RLA was enacted in 1926. Nothing to do with Biden or Trump. You could do a little more research and a little less regurgitating of talking points from Fox, Newsmax, and OAN. Republicans love projecting. The irony of you talking about being brainwashed. Lol

  • I had the same problem with United before I retired. We are obligated to pay dues regardless. You can opt to pay less for NO REPRESENTATION (!). Ours was $50 a month. They got $15000 for my 25 years. If you count all he flight attendants from other airlines, it is a huge money making business!

  • This article is pure anti-union bs. While employees may have to pay dues if such requirement is in the CBA, the RLA, similar to the NLRA, has a Duty of Fair Representation clause. Meaning there is no greater threat of an employee being terminated while not paying dues. The employer makes all decisions regarding hiring and firing. Furthermore, if an employee feels the Union has not fully represented them, they have legal recourse.

  • Union member in a different industry here. My union allows members to take an “honorable withdrawal” and suspends or reduced dues collection during times of hardship and inability to pay, such as layoff, medical time off, etc. I would be surprised if APFA didn’t have something like that. I bet the collection efforts are being made towards those who just don’t want to pay because they’re anti-union. And if you’re dissatisfied with your union, get active and make it better. Don’t just complain.

    • Yeah, make it better. Getting your legs broken by a union organizer shouldn’t worry you. The union negotiated your health insurance plan so you only have to pay 20% of your hospital stay.

  • I have a sneaking suspicion this alleged article is very one sided, and doesn’t represent the facts accurately.
    I’m very, very pro-union, if you have a union available in your workplace it would be extremely advantageous for you to join it,
    but nobody can force you to be represented by anyone but yourself if you so choose.
    I’m also willing to bet 2-1 odds that AA does not write into all flight attendant contracts that they must be represented by a particular union, if for no other reason than that’s a RICO case waiting to happen.

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