Flight attendants at American Airlines are expected to formally announce on Monday that they will go on strike ahead of the busy Christmas travel getaway after failing to break a deadlock in contract talks with the Dallas-based airline over pay and conditions.
The board of directors of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) met on Friday to discuss a request to enter a thirty-day cooling-off period, which is a legal requirement preceding strike action.
Although a decision is believed to have been made, the formal announcement has been delayed until Monday to give the union time to prepare communications for the various parties involved in the process – including the National Mediation Board, which is the federal agency that must give its blessing for a strike.
If the NMB grants APFA its request to enter the 30-day cooling-off period, flight attendants could walk out just ahead of Christmas, causing travel chaos for tens of thousands of AA passengers.
In August, AA flight attendants voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike action, with 99.47% of participating crew members saying they would back a walkout if APFA were unable to break an impasse with the airline, although the union has continued to meet with AA with the help of federal mediators.
The union has, however, recently warned of ‘delay tactics’ on behalf of the airline, and earlier this month, it told its members that it would request a release to strike unless there was a dramatic change in AA’s stance towards the negotiations.
“If they don’t have a proposal, we have a deadline, and failure to meet that deadline will result in a request to be released,” the union said in the memo at the end of October.
“We cannot and will not allow the company to use excuses to delay our desperately needed increases. That is why we have set this firm deadline,” the memo continued.
American Airlines has proposed a 19% pay rise over the course of a four-year contract, while the union is demanding a 50% pay rise. On social media site X on Friday, American Airlines dismissed the idea of a pre-Christmas strike, saying: “There is no possibility of a strike this year.”
“Our team is ready to care for our customers this holiday season and beyond.”
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.