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American Airlines Offers Flight Attendants More Money Than Their Peers at Delta Air Lines in Bid to Break Bargaining Deadlock

American Airlines Offers Flight Attendants More Money Than Their Peers at Delta Air Lines in Bid to Break Bargaining Deadlock

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American Airlines has offered flight attendants higher pay than their peers at Delta Air Lines to break a bargaining deadlock that has been dragging on for months and has led to high-level intervention from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

At the request of federal mediators, updates on the state of negotiations between American Airlines and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) have been pretty scarce in recent weeks, although the union now says significant progress has been made.

American Airlines has reportedly promised to increase its wage offer from 11.2% (which would bring flight attendants at the Fort Worth-based carrier to the same level as Delta’s crew members) by nearly 5% to 17%, along with boarding pay and 2% annual wage increases over the lifetime of the contract.

The union rejected the offer because American Airlines was unwilling to offer per diem increases and retro pay, but following ‘intensive’ mediation sessions, including a rare weekend meeting, the carrier has now offered more than a billion dollars of value to its proposal.

“We have made progress at the bargaining table on almost every issue that separates the parties,” the union told its members on Tuesday following days of silence.

“This includes progress on issues such as wage increases above Delta, increases to per diem, out-year wage increases, retro pay, and beating back scheduling concessions”.

The memo continued: “As a result, the gap separating the parties has narrowed so we are no longer billions of dollars apart.”

Despite AA’s latest offer, the two sides have yet to reach a tentative agreement, with the union promising its members not to “sell ourselves short.”

“It has been a roller coaster of bargaining these last two months,” the union told its members with the National Mediation Board pushing for more negotiations based on AA’s recent willingness to make concessions.

Those concessions, the union claims, only came on the back of its push for a release to strike. The NMB has been extremely reluctant to allow flight attendants to go on strike, and so long as American Airlines is willing to table new solutions, a release to strike is unwilling to be made.

The union sees that position as a double-edged sword. On one side, the threat of a strike has led to American Airlines adding “hundreds of millions” of dollars to its offer, but the NMB’s reluctance to release flight attendants to strike action has dragged out the negotiations process.

Further negotiations are, however, set to take place in Phoenix next week and the union says it is willing to close the remaining gaps.

“As a result of hard bargaining, we are within striking distance of a deal,” the union said. Any tentative agreement will, though, require an even bigger offer from American Airlines.

View Comments (2)
  • How can AA flight attendants expect above Delta pay when they cannot even come close to the Delta FA level of professionalism?
    My recent 4.5 hour AA fight in business class had the FA watching movies on her cel phone for 3 hours.
    The Delta FA are proud of the work they do. AA ones want to serve the meal and get it over with.

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