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American Airlines Flight Attendants Move One Step Closer to Strike Action as Contract Negotiations Falter

American Airlines Flight Attendants Move One Step Closer to Strike Action as Contract Negotiations Falter

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Flight attendants at American Airlines have moved one step closer to possible strike action with a strike authorization vote likely to be approved by the union that represents crew at the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier in the coming days.

On Monday, the contract negotiating committee at the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said it had recommended to the union’s board of directors to approve a strike authorization vote.

“It is time for our membership to send a clear and definitive message to management and the flying public that we are ready and will do what is necessary to secure the contract that we have earned,” a member of the negotiating committee said.

“While we have made progress in some areas, we still have several outstanding issues with no significant movement by the company, even though they’ve had more than enough time to do so.”

“After passing all sections of the contract with the company and entering federal mediation, today, we are recommending the APFA board of directors approve a strike authorization vote by the membership,” the negotiating committee continued.

The union has been locked in contract talks with AA since 2019 and flight attendants are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress. Earlier this year, the union requested federal mediation in an attempt to break the deadlock on some issues, although the first mediated bargaining session only took place at the end of June.

Last week the union told flight attendants that “building pressure” on American Airlines would be key to securing the contract that they want. “We need all flight attendants to be involved in the struggle,” the union said in an internal memo.

One of the biggest sticking points between the airline and APFA are the union’s pay demands which AA is yet to respond to. “We have told them they need to put their cards on the table,” last week’s memo said. “We know we will be worlds apart on where this contract needs to be economically.”

The Railway Labor Act is the federal law that governs labor relations with the U.S. airline industry, and there are a number of steps that unionized workers must take in order to be allowed to start strike action, or ‘self-help’ as it is sometimes called.

Even if a strike authorization vote goes ahead and is approved by flight attendants, federal mediation must also officially fail before a strike can go ahead. Typically, strike authorization votes are symbolic and used as a bargaining tool.

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