American Airlines flight attendants are on the brink of a potential strike right before the Christmas holiday if significant progress isn’t made in their ongoing contract negotiations. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) issued a stern warning, stating that the lack of “substantial movement” in negotiations may lead to a strike.
In a statement released on Tuesday, October 24, APFA expressed its frustration, saying, “Company negotiators showed up to our last bargaining session in Dallas/Fort Worth with no responses to our comprehensive economic and non-economic packages.” American Airlines reportedly cited that any retroactive pay increases would be offset against the terms of the new agreement. APFA argues that this would effectively force flight attendants to pay for these retroactive adjustments, adding financial strain to an already protracted negotiation process.
As a result, APFA National Officers have scheduled a meeting on November 17 to consider a request for the National Mediation Board to release them and American Airlines into a 30-day cooling-off period. If substantial progress isn’t achieved by the end of this period, American’s more than 26,000 flight attendants would have the option to go on strike in support of their contract demands.
This sets the stage for a potential strike as early as December 18, just a week before Christmas, a timing decision that APFA notes was made “for a reason.”
In response to the situation, an American Airlines spokesperson commented, “We continue to meet regularly with APFA and are confident that we’ll reach an agreement American’s flight attendants have earned.”
This dispute has been simmering for some time. In August, over 93 percent of American Airlines’ flight attendants, totaling 26,000, authorized APFA leadership to call for a strike if their demands for pay raises were not met. According to APFA National President Julie Hedrick, flight attendants have not received raises since 2019. The new proposal includes “industry-leading compensation” and improvements in 401(k) matching, boarding pay (as employees are not compensated until airplane doors close), additional holidays to be included in the holiday/incentive pay list, and more.
In addition to these developments, APFA is planning to stage pickets at several airports, including Boston, Charlotte, Washington-Ronald Reagan, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York-LaGuardia, Orlando, Miami, Chicago-O’Hare, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, on November 16.
The airline industry will be closely watching these negotiations, as the outcome could impact not only American Airlines but the broader landscape of labor relations in the industry.