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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

American Airlines Flight Attendants Demand 35% Increase in Hourly Pay Rates

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In its most recent proposals during protracted contract negotiations with the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline, the union that represents about 23,000 flight attendants at American Airlines is calling for a 35 percent increase in hourly pay rates, as well as boarding pay and a slew of other salary improvements.

If approved, senior flight attendants at the top of the wage scale would make more than $95 per hour, while newly hired flight attendants may make close to $41 per hour — an increase from the current pay rate of $30.35 for new hires.

In addition, a rise in hourly pay rates of 6% for each year of the three-year contract has been proposed by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). A senior flight attendant might be paid almost $110 per hour toward the end of the contract.

The “comprehensive economic proposal” was delivered to American Airlines on Thursday following an analysis by the union of a number of variables, including industry-wide pay, the economy, and inflation.

In a statement, the union admitted that there was still “lots of bargaining to end up with our final economic package” and that the final agreement could look much different than its initial proposals.

Coupled with significant increases in hourly pay rates, the APFA has urged American Airlines to begin providing boarding pay to flight attendants, a contentious issue that has long infuriated crew members because boarding may be one of the most demanding aspects of the job.

The AA flight attendant union has suggested boarding pay at 50% of ordinary hourly rates, emulating a boarding pay plan from Delta Air Lines.

Also, flight attendants want compensation increases for working night shifts and in the galley. Along with a “me too” clause that would automatically raise allowances if pilots obtained a higher rate, the union is also asking for an increase in per diem allowance rates.

Robert Isom, the chief executive, appealed directly to pilots earlier this week with the promise of major pay increases and an improved profit-sharing program, which the APFA is now demanding be extended to flight attendants as well.

The union recently requested federal mediation in an effort to resolve a number of outstanding issues in the ongoing contract negotiations. The act of filing for mediation is the first step on a long road to potential strike action.

In an effort to put more pressure on the airline, the union is organizing a series of high-publicity picketing events at 10 airports across the United States in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the airline.

Photo credit: news.aa.com

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