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Flight Attendants at American Airlines Seek Strike Authorization; Southwest Pilots May Follow

by Andrew Wright
5 comments
Airline Strikes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) —

In a significant labor movement, American Airlines flight attendants are seeking approval from federal authorities to initiate a strike, potentially disrupting the busy holiday travel period. However, the airline has firmly stated that a strike during the festive season is out of the question.

Union leaders representing the flight attendants have expressed their dissatisfaction with the stalled contract negotiations, highlighting that the workers have not received a pay raise since 2019.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants has formally requested the National Mediation Board to recognize the negotiation deadlock and authorize a strike after a mandated 30-day cooling-off period.

In a parallel development, Southwest pilots have established a “strike center” in Dallas. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has indicated their intention to seek strike authorization if contract negotiations with the airline do not conclude soon.

A countdown clock in the union’s headquarters is set for a possible strike on December 29. However, the likelihood of a strike by either union is uncertain due to the stringent federal laws governing airline labor actions. Strikes and lockouts can only occur if federal mediators declare an impasse, and even then, intervention from the President or Congress can prevent a strike to protect the economy.

American Airlines has countered the flight attendants’ union’s assertion of stalled negotiations, claiming they have been proposing an industry-leading economic package for months, and are making progress on other contractual aspects.

American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, is committed to collaborating with the union and the National Mediation Board to reach an agreement. The airline assured that there is no risk of a strike during Thanksgiving or the December holidays.

The flight attendants’ union demands a 35% immediate raise, followed by 6% annual increases over three years. American’s offer includes an 11% initial raise, which they claim amounts to 18% when considering higher pay during boarding, plus 2% annual increases. The union is also seeking enhanced 401(k) contributions and more rest time.

American’s pilots recently achieved over 40% salary increases over four years, leading to feelings of inequality among the flight attendants.

Another key issue for Southwest pilots revolves around scheduling and compensation for flights lacking a crew. The Southwest pilots’ union had previously unsuccessfully sought strike permission earlier in the year. With another bargaining session planned for late November, the union’s second vice president emphasized the need for a resolution by the end of the month to avoid a strike.

Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, remains hopeful of reaching a competitive contract for their pilots, continuing negotiations.

Both the American flight attendants and Southwest pilots are buoyed by recent successes in labor negotiations across various industries. Examples include the United Auto Workers’ gains from a six-week strike, improved compensation for screen and TV writers and actors, and significant pay raises for United Parcel Service workers secured by the Teamsters.

In Texas, several American Airlines flight attendants demonstrated outside the company’s headquarters, signaling readiness to strike, and were met with supportive honks from passing drivers.

Union official Harris cited these developments as a source of hope and inspiration for the broader labor movement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Airline Strikes

Are American Airlines flight attendants planning to strike?

American Airlines flight attendants, represented by their union, are seeking federal permission to strike due to stalled contract negotiations. They have not had a pay raise since 2019 and are demanding significant wage increases.

What demands are American Airlines flight attendants making?

The flight attendants’ union is asking for immediate raises of 35% and annual increases of 6% over a three-year deal. They are also seeking larger 401(k) contributions and increased rest time.

Is a strike imminent at American Airlines over the holiday season?

American Airlines has stated that there is no possibility of a strike during the Thanksgiving or December holiday period, despite the union’s move to seek strike authorization.

Are Southwest Airlines pilots also considering a strike?

Southwest Airlines pilots, through their union, have opened a strike center and are considering asking for the right to strike if contract negotiations do not lead to a deal soon.

What are the legal requirements for airline workers to strike?

Federal law makes it difficult for airline workers to strike. Strikes and lockouts are only legal if federal mediators declare negotiations are at an impasse. Additionally, the president or Congress can intervene to prevent a strike.

More about Airline Strikes

  • American Airlines Flight Attendants Seek Strike Approval
  • Southwest Pilots Consider Strike Actions
  • Federal Laws Governing Airline Strikes
  • Recent Labor Movements in Various Industries

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5 comments

UnionStrong November 21, 2023 - 6:43 am

Solidarity with the flight attendants! They deserve fair pay and better working conditions. it’s about time.

Reply
TravelGal91 November 21, 2023 - 10:24 am

So frustrating! just booked my holiday flights with AA, now worried about delays or worse…strike? ugh.

Reply
PilotPete November 21, 2023 - 1:53 pm

Being a pilot isn’t easy, these negotiations are crucial for us. hope southwest gets a fair deal soon.

Reply
MikeJ_1985 November 21, 2023 - 3:07 pm

can’t believe AA and southwest are having these issues, always thought they were better managed, guess not??

Reply
EconWatcher November 22, 2023 - 2:15 am

strikes in airlines can really affect the economy, especially during holidays, hope they sort it out without major disruptions.

Reply

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