/ / / / /

Strike Watch: American Airlines Flight Attendants Set To Walk Out

March 5, 2010 at 2:45 PM | by | ()

Why should Europe have all the fun? As of this week American Airlines, Continental, United, US Airways and Southwest are all engaged in contentious contract negotiations with any number of unions. But while most of those airlines are in tussles with their pilots, American is facing a walkout by its flight attendants. Negotiations between the airline and the union broke down Wednesday, setting up the conditions for an airline strike. Union officials now need to go to federal officials and ask them to start the clock running on a 30-day waiting period. At the end of that month a full-blown strike becomes permissible. Tick tock:

The two sides are fighting over wages and other items. The union, which represents about 18,000 flight attendants, wants raises to offset pay and benefit cuts that workers accepted in 2003, when American was close to bankruptcy. The company, which lost $3.6 billion in the last two years, says it spends more per employee on flight attendants than Delta, United, Continental and US Airways and must cut labor costs.

If its true that American flight attendants get above-average compensation, that would put the union in the same position as their British Airways counterparts. Which is to say, judging from the massive public support for the airline's strike-breaking plans, no position at all.

We continue to be skeptical that mass airline strikes will happen in the US. For one thing, the federal government - from which airline employees need permission for walkouts - generally frowns on transportation disruptions which would cascade through everything. For another, American airline workers have little leverage and everyone knows it. They're in the same catch-22 as European airline workers: given that their companies are already hemorrhaging money, pegging their demands too high only ensures that everyone ends up unemployed.

[Photo: Via Dallas Observer]

Related Stories:
· U.S. airline, union disputes could disrupt flights [USA Today]
· American Airlines [Jaunted]
· Airline Strikes [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

The answer

The answer to this problem is so simple that no one who gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year will think it. American is not known for its kick-ass flight attendants, so losing them would be no shame. There are plenty of unemployed people who would take their spots, and I am sure if American said, sorry folks no more union jobs, many of the old union workers would come scrambling back. Unions are deathtraps for businesses.

the answer

Seth u have no clue....Would u be one of the people trying to take our jobs.

the answer

Seth u have no clue....Would u be one of the people trying to take our jobs.

Strike Watch.... The answer

I dont think Seth knows what he is talking about!

Re: Harry and Olga

Educate me then. Why should American have to listen to crap from its employees about a raise when there are thousands of unemployed people in the country that can't even get a minimum wage job? I am a business owner in a business that is generally union based and I refuse to work with unions. What is my result? Employees that are actually dependable and judged on their individual characteristics.


No Harry, I wouldn't be one to take your job, but I bet the over 10% of our country that lost their jobs would! I know this, I would never hire anyone that thinks that it is their right to boss me, the employer, around. A business is NOT a democracy nor should it be.


Seth: I don't really think a "kick ass" flight attendant is necessary in the Airline Industry and am confused what you mean by that. A lap dance? What scares me is this idea that corporations should be left to dictatorships lowering and demeaning the American workforce in the false belief that they deserve no better and should just be grateful for what they have. You would not tell an entrepreneur to just accept declining pay and benefits, and what type of service are you expecting by lowering the position? Seth--think about Customer Service. The lower the job pay, the lousier the service, the lower intellect of workers, the less professionalism or desire to do a good job. Any call you make for a PC technical support pretty much confirms that. As for Flight Attendants, I don't really know what they make, so unless an article gives me the specifics how am I supposed to decide whether these people are being wronged or whether they are ungrateful? Someone provide a more technical piece. I don't mean to pry but how does the industry or the unions expect the American public to make an informed opinion. If they are overpaid--screw 'em. If they are not, the heck with "democracy". That's an improper term for labor negotions, so much so that it's basically rhetoric. I do know that with the weakening of unions, corporations have lowered pay, lowered benefits, shipped jobs overseas, even after concessions, and they basically horde the money and it does NOT trickle down. Corporations would choose to have their employees grateful for a bowl of gruel if they could get away with it. I know Unions got too powerful in the 70s but the pendulum swung and unions weakened. But now it's time for the pendulum to swing back. Unions are TOO weak. As for the downside of unions, there is no reason why pay and benefits could be negotiated with one, but these silly union rules to keep deadbeats and lousy employees on the roster could be written out.

Airline Jobs

Airlines have some problems with the employees of America and that is why it had been decided to sake out some employees. Economic failure is one of the reasons of job-cuts. The liquidation has made the position of American airlines equivalent to that of British Airways. Twenty percent employees have already lost their jobs. http://www.commercialpilottraining.net/