American Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike

ByAnthony Carlo WABC logo
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
American Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike
More than 26 thousand American Airlines flight attendants voted to authorize a nationwide strike. Anthony Carlo has more.

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- More than 26,000 American Airlines flight attendants voted Wednesday on whether or not to authorize a nationwide strike.

More than 99% of the flight attendants voted in favor of authorizing the strike.

American Airlines is the world's largest flight carrier and many flight attendants say that they do not want to strike, but they will if their demands are not met.

"We understand that there are issues, that airlines can't predict what will happen," said Christian Santana, a flight attendant for American Airlines. "But when we are rescheduled, the company needs to understand that that is a cost to us."

The flight attendants say their workdays are being stretched to FAA maximums and their rest periods are being condensed to FAA minimums.

"We are the face of American Airlines," said Cindi Dunfee, another flight attendant. "All we are asking for is the same thing anybody else would ask for a decent wage, decent work rules, and quality of life issues."

Risk of COVID-19 infections, as well as an increase in violence on flights are other reasons the flight attendants cite in authorizing the strike.

American Airlines flight attendants are represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).

The vote comes just days before Labor Day Weekend, but the hope is negotiations will not impact holiday travel. The TSA expects to screen more than 14 million passengers over the weekend.

The APFA and American Airlines are in federal mediation over contract negotiations.

Flight attendants will have to wait until federal mediation wraps up, then there will be a 30-day cooling off period.

In reality, a potential strike could be more than a month away. However, if negotiations break down, a strike is possible at any point.

American Airlines flight attendants first began voting for a strike authorization on July 28.

"We're proud of the progress we've made in negotiations with the APFA, and we look forward to reaching an agreement that provides our flight attendants with real and meaningful value," said American Airlines in a statement.

American Airlines also says that the result of the strike authorization vote as well as any informal picketing will have no impact on their operations.

There are about 3,100 American Airlines flight attendants in the New York region alone.

At a picket at Laguardia Airport Wednesday, the APFA was joined in solidarity by members of the Association of Flight Attendant, the Allied Pilots Association among others.

Earlier this month, American Airlines approved a new four-year, $9.6 billion contract for their pilots. Flight attendants are now hoping the airline will turn its attention toward them.

The flight attendants are asking for an immediate 35% wage increase, followed by a 6% annual increase.

American Airlines flight attendants went on strike once before in 1993, five days before Thanksgiving.

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