In a resounding show of support, flight attendants employed by American Airlines have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a potential strike, highlighting years of stagnant contract negotiations and the enduring hardships they’ve faced throughout the pandemic without receiving a pay raise.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union representing these dedicated workers, revealed that a staggering 99.5 percent of participating flight attendants approved the strike, with an impressive 93 percent of eligible employees casting their votes.

Julie Hedrick, the National President of APFA, conveyed a clear message in response to this remarkable vote: “Today, we sent a clear message to American Airlines management: We are fired up and ready for a contract. They ignore this strike vote at their peril. Our contributions to the success of American Airlines must be recognized and respected.”

American Airlines

Should the strike move forward, it’s anticipated that more than 26,000 workers will actively participate. Nevertheless, several procedural steps must be completed before workers are granted permission to strike, including a mandated 30-day cooling-off period and the crucial approval from the federal board responsible for overseeing labor disputes within the rail and airline industries.

While an immediate strike isn’t on the immediate horizon, the emphatic result of the vote underscores the mounting frustration among employees due to the ongoing negotiations. This week, flight attendants are actively participating in informational pickets at 12 different bases, sending a clear signal of their determination.

American Airlines flight attendants have faced a prolonged period without pay raises since their contract became amendable in 2019. The union’s demands include a substantial 35 percent pay increase to offset years of effectively reduced wages, in addition to a 6 percent annual increase moving forward. Improved benefits are also an essential part of their demands.

Hedrick reiterated the flight attendants’ unwavering desire for a fair agreement, stating, “Flight Attendants are ready for an agreement that respects our contributions to the success of this carrier. Our contract became amendable in 2019, and American’s Flight Attendants have not received cost-of-living increases or any other quality-of-life improvements, even as they played an essential part in keeping American in the skies both during and after the pandemic.”

The flight attendants have been vocal about the arduous conditions they face at work, notably the issue of not being compensated when the plane door is open, resulting in unpaid hours during boarding, weather delays, or between flights. One flight attendant aptly compared it to working 12 or 13 hours but only being paid for five.

Labor leaders have wholeheartedly expressed their support for the outcome of the vote. Sara Nelson, the President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, enthusiastically declared on social media, “Hell yeah, APFA! 99.5% strike vote! Let’s go! Proud to walk with you today! … Flight Attendants across the industry are ready to do what it takes to get the contracts we deserve!”

This year has seen American Airlines pilots successfully negotiate a contract after authorizing a strike. While pilots must adhere to federal regulations governing their right to strike, their resounding vote resulted in significant gains. The approved contract, reached earlier this month, includes pay raises of up to 46 percent by 2027, immediate pay increases exceeding 21 percent, and an impressive $1.1 billion in immediate payments and ratification bonuses.

Check out Other Latest news

Despite these labor disputes, American Airlines continues to report substantial profits. In the second quarter of 2023, the company posted profits of $1.34 billion, achieving a quarterly revenue record of $14 billion, underscoring the critical role of its workforce in these remarkable financial achievements.