Flight attendants at American Airlines are now demanding a 50% pay raise over the course of a four-year contract as a counter-proposal to the airline’s offer of an initial 11% pay raise in addition to a 2% pay raise for the following four years.
The Association of Professional Fight Attendants (APFA) had originally demanded a 47% pay raise over just three years, but the union says that it is now putting “the ball in management’s court” by shaving the initial uplift from 35% to 33% but adding an additional 5% raise in the fourth year of the contract.
“One area we are holding firm on is wages,” the union said in a memo on Wednesday. “When we presented our economic proposal, we made it crystal clear to management that their economic framework does not and will not work,” the memo continued.
The proposal from American Airlines is based on flight attendant pay rates at rival Delta Air Lines, but APFA says it’s not interested in maintaining the “status quo” and is seeking big pay raises and substantial improvements to terms and conditions.
“We are fully prepared to reach an agreement with management, but we are willing to do what it takes to push this bargaining forward, including requesting a release for a strike,” the union memo warned on Wednesday.
A release to strike would have to be approved by the National Mediation Board, which would have to be satisfied that both sides are at an impasse in negotiations without any hope of resolving their differences.
More than 99% of flight attendants voted to authorize a strike on a turnout of 93% eligible crew members back in August, although there’s no sign that APFA will be seeking a release to strike anytime soon.
In the meantime, however, the union has called another nationwide picketing event on November 16, where flight attendants will display the controversial slogan “We Are Ready” – or WAR for short.
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.