Why Flight Attendants Said No to American Airlines’ 17% Raise

An embattled negotiation between American Airlines and their flight attendants union could lead to a strike after the airline’s latest offer has fallen through.

17% Wage Hike Offer

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Amid contract negotiations this week, major US airline American Airlines offered their flight attendants a 17% wage hike, which would be effective immediately if accepted.

Swift Rejection

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However, following the offer of an immediate wage hike, the pay rise offer was swiftly rejected by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union that represents the company’s attendant workforce.

Ongoing Negotiations

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These negotiations between the corporation and union have been ongoing for years, first starting in January 2020. They were paused for a year during the Covid-19 pandemic, before resuming in June 2021.

New Profit-Sharing Formula

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The offer was initially made as part of a new profit-sharing formula and would have signaled the first contract raise for flight attendants since before the pandemic.

Potential Strike on the Horizon

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But now, it is looking increasingly likely that the stalled negotiations could result in a strike. While strikes in the airline industry are extremely rare (with the last occurring in 2010), if the two organizations cannot reach a deal it would trigger a release by federal mediators.

One Final Attempt

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Now, the two sides are planning to meet with federal mediators in one final attempt to reach an agreement. In the meantime, the union has advised employees to prepare for a strike.

Video to Staff

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American Airlines CEO Robert Isom sent a video to all flight attendants on Wednesday, keeping them updated on negotiations from the company side and the wage hike offer.  

“A Good Deal of Work to be Done”

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“We have made progress in a number of key areas, but there is still a good deal of work to be done,” he said. “So, to get you more money now, we presented APFA with a proposal that offers immediate wage increases of 17% and a new formula that would increase your profit sharing.”

Unusual Offer for Unusual Times

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“This means we’ve offered increased pay for all flight attendants and are not asking your union for anything in return. This is unusual, but these are unusual times,” he elaborated.

Not Enough for the APFA

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While the offered pay rise may seem enticing, the APFA has maintained that it is not enough and does not fulfill the requests they have made of the company.

Asking for 33%

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American Airlines flight attendants have not received a pay rise in five years. Their union has demanded an immediate pay raise of approximately 33%, meaning that the airline has only committed to just over half of the desired amount.

Representing 23,000 Flight Attendants

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The APFA currently represents more than 23,000 flight attendants working for American Airlines.

Falling Far Short

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The union is already pushing to be released from these negotiations on the basis that the airline continues “to fall far short of addressing the current economic environment.”

“Way Past Time”

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“It is way past time for management to acknowledge our contributions to the airline, address the new industry standard, and compensate us fairly,” said union president Julie Hedrick.  “We are neither backing down nor settling for less than we’ve earned.”

Pushing to Be Industry Leaders

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The union has been pushing for a premium contract in the airline industry, one that overtakes Delta Airlines which has also offered its staff a 17% pay rise.

Committed to Reaching an Agreement

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Isom maintains that the airline wants to continue pushing for an agreement with the union. “We are committed to reaching a new agreement and now is the time to make a deal,” he said.

Circumventing the Union?

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Hendrick and the APFA also condemned Isom’s decision to communicate about negotiations directly with staff, saying “Our CEO has decided to negotiate with our members directly. He is trying to circumvent the union.”

Flight Attendants Remain Uninterested

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She also confirmed that as well as the unanimous union vote against the offer, flight attendants have also voiced their disinterest across the board in union chat groups and emails.

“Too Little, Too Late”

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“Too little, too late,” one flight attendant’s post read following the announcement. “Stop trying to negotiate with the members and get to the damn table.”

Ongoing Negotiations Industry-Wide

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United Airlines is far from the only airline trying to push through contract negotiations. United Airlines, Alaska Air, and Frontier are also currently in the midst of establishing new contract deals with employees.

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The postWhy Flight Attendants Said No to American Airlines’ 17% – Raise first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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