June 12, 2024

American Airlines flight attendants on a picket line

American Airlines flight attendants on a picket line
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

American Airlines just made a partial concession during its ongoing contract negotiations with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (AFPA), the union representing its flight attendants. Reuters reports that the carrier offered to immediately raise pay for the position by 17%, plus work out changes to its profit-sharing agreement. CEO Robert Isom says that bargaining is still ongoing but that the company is committed to reaching an agreement. American’s flight attendants have requested an immediate, 33% raise, per Reuters.

Last month, CNN reported that American Airlines flight attendants were being offered starting salaries that could easily land them underneath the poverty line or qualify them for assistance measures such as food stamps. They have not gotten a raise since 2019, when their last contract expired. The pandemic interrupted negotiations for a new contract, which have been ongoing. In its latest annual report, American Airlines said that 87% of its 129,700 full-time workers are unionized. Of that number, 23,200 are organized under the APFA.

The AFPA has been preparing to strike should negotiations prove unfruitful. On the same day that American noted its offer to increase pay, the AFPA said that it was opening a “strike command center” to coordinate a collective work stoppage.

“APFA has committed to Members that a tentative agreement will only be presented if it meets our economic requirements, including retroactive compensation for five years of stagnant wages,” the union said. “Given American Airlines management’s inadequate proposals at the bargaining table, all members should be readying themselves for a possible strike.”

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