American flight attendants ratify new labor accord

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Published: August 20, 2012

American Airlines 757. Courtesy, AA

American Airlines’ (AA) flight attendants voted by a 59.5%-40.5% margin to accept what the union representing them considered management’s “last, best and final offer” for a new collective bargaining agreement.

The Assn. of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said 93% of AA’s 13,544 flights attendants participated in the vote, which came after the creditors’ committee of AA parent AMR Corp. strongly encouraged the airline’s unionized workers to agree to consensual labor contracts ( ATW Daily News, Aug. 17 ). The vote leaves AA’s 10,000 pilots as the remaining holdout among the carrier’s major work groups in terms of reaching a consensual agreement.

A US bankruptcy court is expected in early September to reconsider AA’s request to void the pilots’ contract. The court has at temporarily blocked that request, but AA said the rejection was on narrow grounds that it can revise.

The flight attendants decided not to leave their fate in the hands of the court, which has been overseeing AA’s Chapter 11 restructuring since November. “In light of last week’s announcement from the creditors’ committee, our bankruptcy team firmly believes we have achieved everything possible,” APFA said in a statement.

However, the union reiterated that it has “zero confidence in this management team” and again pushed for a merger with US Airways (US) ( ATW Daily News, April 23 ). “We firmly believe that the only way for American Airlines to grow and compete and perhaps even to survive is through a merger that puts [US chairman and CEO] Doug Parker and his team in charge.”

AA said in a statement that “ratification of the flight attendant agreement is an important step forward in our restructuring. We know this was not an easy decision for our flight attendants and we are very pleased with the choice they made.”

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