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American Airlines Flight Attendants Told to Prepare Themselves For a Strike as Contract Negotiations Break Down

American Airlines Flight Attendants Told to Prepare Themselves For a Strike as Contract Negotiations Break Down

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Flight attendants at American Airlines are readying themselves to cause travel chaos over the busy summer travel season with an incredibly rare strike after two weeks of intensive last-ditch talks failed to break a deadlock in new contract negotiations.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents crew members at the Fort Worth-based carrier, has been trying to negotiate a new contract since 2019, but on Friday, the union warned that AA’s “ability to stall these negotiations is rapidly reaching an end.”

Negotiations between the union and airline have been overseen and managed by the National Mediation Board for several years, but despite the board’s best efforts to get the two sides to compromise, economic issues remain a sticking point that just can’t be unstuck.

Ultimately, it will be the NMB that gets to decide whether AA flight attendants are allowed to go on strike, and the board has already rejected one request from the union to be released into a 30-day cooling-off period, after which a walkout could occur.

The NMB has been sat on a second strike request for several months and had been hoping that pushing the two sides to reach a deal over several weeks of intensive talks in Dallas and Washington DC would bear fruit… it now appears that the NMB plan didn’t work out.

The flight attendant union believes the NMB might push for one final stab at getting the two sides to reach an amicable deal, but if both AA and the union refuse to budge, the NMB could then declare an impasse and release flight attendants to strike.

Whilst not entirely unprecedented, flight attendants going on strike at such a large US airline hasn’t been witnessed in decades and could cause real strife for hundreds of thousands of Americans – piling pressure not only on the airline to quickly reach a deal but also the Biden administration.

If a strike does go ahead, APFA will likely avoid calling an all-out walkout in favour of random, piecemeal strikes, calling out flight attendants from select flights at the last minute.

In the meantime, APFA is already mailing strike preparation handbooks to tens of thousands of flight attendants, while the union has also warned its members not to take any sort of ‘self-help’ action until strike action has been formally approved.

Further information might be forthcoming on Monday, at which point American Airlines may also have revisited its offer to stop a strike from going ahead.

View Comments (2)
  • Both sides stall, that’s the way in goes for all contracts under the Railway Labor Act. But only one side negotiates in public. So take it with a grain of salt. My understanding is that the company has agreed to match Delta’s pay rates, and is holding firm at that number. The union, however, wants more. So who exactly is being greedy?

    • I think it is that the FAs want an industry leading contract not an industry matching contract inflation is at an ALL TIME high companies should be paying their employees an wage that’s livable no one should have to live in their cars or having 3+ plus roommates to survive just to be able to eat . I have new hire friends in the industry some of them pick of trips just to be able to eat because some passengers don’t eat the first class meals so I strongly disagree that the union is being greedy … Robert Isom got paid millions of dollars and for what exactly he was never on the front line when my friends are sitting on hot planes for hours or when they are sitting at the airport for hours not getting paid .

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