During a federally mediated contract negotiation last week, American Airlines offered flight attendants an immediate 11% pay rise, along with an additional 2% rise each year for the next five years and the long overdue introduction of boarding pay at half their normal hourly, it has now been revealed.
The proposal is significantly lower than the 35% pay rise that the flight attendant union has been demanding, along with a 6% yearly pay rise in each year of the five-year contract.
In a statement, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said that it would treat the airline’s offer as an “initial proposal” and that there was “much more bargaining to do before reaching an agreement”.
Last month, flight attendants at the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline voted overwhelmingly to authorize strike action should talks with management collapse without agreement.
After more than 99% of flight attendants voted to authorize a strike on a turnout of 93% eligible crew members, APFA president Julie Hedrick warned that her members were “fired up” and ready for a contract. “They ignore this strike vote at their peril,” Hedrick continued.
Following years of back-and-forth negotiations, the two sides are currently in federal mediation in an attempt to break the deadlock on a number of key areas.
Some progress has been made during these mediation sessions, although this is the first time that American Airlines has shown its hand on what it’s willing to offer flight attendants in pay.
American Airlines has based its offer on the current pay rates at Delta Air Lines, where the top rate of pay is capped at $76 per hour for flight attendants with 13 or more years of service.
That, however, is a lot less than the maximum $92 hourly rate that APFA have demanded.
American Airlines has also rejected a number of other demands, turning down proposals to increase pay rates for crew members who work the galley position on international flights or for crew members with foreign language skills.
The airline has, though, offered to start paying flight attendants boarding pay at half their hourly rate, which would also bring American Airlines flight attendants in line with their peers at non-unionized Delta, who have received boarding pay since last year.
Other APFA proposals which have currently been rejected by the airline include an increase in annual leave days per year and per diems, adding additional national holidays that attract incentive pay, and paying flight attendants more money for working night flights.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.