American’s Flight Attendants Have Just Screwed Themselves

American, Labor Relations

Airline labor contracts can get extremely complex, and when it comes down to a vote, there are usually good arguments for both sides. Every so often, however, a vote comes up where there is clearly one right answer. That was the case with the American flight attendant combined contract vote, yet somehow, they voted against their own interests. It is incredible how badly they just screwed themselves.

American Flight Attendants Vote No

As part of the merger and the exit from bankruptcy, the new American’s flight attendants (among other labor groups) agreed to a process for integration. The process that was agreed upon meant it would be a smooth transition, far easier than we’ve seen in other mergers. It was pretty simple. They’d come to a single seniority list (which is already done), and then they would enter into a short period of negotiations with the company on a combined contract. If they all agreed upon a contract, then it would go into effect. If not, then it would go straight to binding arbitration. Binding arbitration produces results that have to be accepted by both sides, so the process would be finished quickly no matter what.

With that backdrop, the flight attendant union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), went into negotiations to get the best deal possible for the flight attendants. What came out of that negotiation was surprisingly good for them, bringing $193 million in annual economic improvement over what they have today. That made for an industry-leading contract, and it beats what binding arbitration would provide.

How do I know that? Well, the rules for binding arbitration were set so that the average of the United and Delta contracts would be used to create the American contract. That provided an economic improvement of only $111 million a year. Even though the way you reach that number can vary (and would be decided in arbitration), that number is fixed. APFA came in with $82 million per year over that amount through negotiations.

This seemed like a no-brainer since the alternative was clearly set (unlike you usually find in airline/labor negotiations). The union pushed it out to the flight attendants to vote, and the results came back over the weekend. It lost by 16 votes. This is one bad move by the flight attendants, or at least the ones who voted against it.

It was extremely close, but even if it had gone the other way, that means nearly half the group still voted against what should have been an easy “yes” vote. Looking at how it broke down by base, it’s clear that the Miami and New York bases sunk this on the legacy American side. Only 37 percent of Miami flight attendants and 39 percent of New York flight attendants voted for it. Meanwhile in Dallas, Chicago, and LA it passed. On the US Airways side, Charlotte narrowly voted against it and so did the small base in Washington DC, but Philly and Phoenix approved (with US Airways as a whole approving it). Possibly the most insane group here is the 4,000 flight attendants (around 20 percent) that just didn’t vote. Apparently they don’t care about their future. If only this prevented those people from ever complaining again.

How the heck did this happen? As usual, I’m sure it was a combination of things that pushed the “no” vote to (Pyrrhic) victory. Here are just a few thoughts.

1) Some flight attendants will always vote no
You’ll always have that group that refuses to accept anything short of $10 million a year with a maximum of 5 hours a month flying. That’s a fringe group, but it still counts.

2) Some flight attendants didn’t understand or didn’t want to believe how this worked
Usually, if you vote down a tentative agreement, you just go back to the bargaining table and try again. I’m guessing that somehow a bunch of flight attendants simply never bothered to learn that this process was completely different. The union’s leadership put out a ton of communication on this subject, and it was incredibly clear. But it’s safe to assume that there are some people who don’t read anything the union puts out. There are others who read it but just don’t believe it. I’ve seen some things floating around disparaging union president Laura Glading. That alone could cause people to irrationally distrust her when she said this was the best thing they were going to get. (It was.)

3) Some flight attendants received bad information
There’s also the issue of front line rumors. When you see two bases voting sharply negative while the other big bases approved, you have to assume that something is happening specifically at those bases. My guess is that a lot of anti-contract misinformation was circulated in those cities, and the flight attendants got onboard. But I can’t know that for sure.

4) Some flight attendants wanted profit-sharing.
This contract did not include any profit-sharing, and that’s something that many flight attendants wanted. Instead, it included more money in the contract to make up for the amount of profit-sharing paid out by other airlines (notably, Delta). But some people were just not going to be happy without profit-sharing. Of course, turning this down still isn’t going to get them profit-sharing.

5) Some flight attendants didn’t like the work rules
Labor groups are never going to get perfect work rules. In this case, there’s no question that this contract is going to make flight attendants work harder than they did in the pre-bankruptcy contract. Some may have voted no because of that, but if they think they’re going back to pre-bankruptcy work rules, they’re mistaken. Really, if they think they’re going to make any big gains over what was just voted down, it’s not going to happen.


Now, what happens? Well, binding arbitration starts on December 3. It won’t take all that long. I’d expect we’ll see the final contract around the new year. The two sides can in theory keep negotiating in the meantime, but why would they? They both agreed this was a good contract and the membership voted it down. There didn’t seem to be a clear mandate on what was missing, so further negotiations won’t help much. Besides, management doesn’t want to set a precedent for other labor groups. The pilots should have a new agreement presented by the company toward the end of this week and they’ll be in the same process as the flight attendants. If management decides to delay the process with the flight attendants further and keep negotiating, then it will defeat the entire purpose of this whole process as it relates to the other workgroups.

The incredible thing here is that from the company perspective, this rejection is a good thing financially. Annual costs will now go down by $82 million – money that the flight attendants put right back into company coffers. Other than that, there won’t really be an impact on things except to slow the contract process down by a couple months. The integration isn’t affected.

The flight attendants, however, have a problem. The entire flight attendant group will be pissed. The half that voted “yes” will be really angry that the other flight attendants made them lose money. The half that voted “no” will be livid when they realize that they screwed themselves, and their dreams of a better contract aren’t happening. Even though none of this anger is the fault of the airline’s management, you know it’ll get directed that way eventually.

But first, they’ll probably direct their ire at union leadership which is really a shame. I don’t say this often, but this union leadership team actually did a good job of going back and forth with the company to make sure that flight attendants would come out in better shape. It was just about to pay off. Oh sure, the flight attendants will still be better off than they are today, but they won’t be as well off as they should have been. It doesn’t impact me personally, but it still makes me mad that they squandered the opportunity.

[Original flight attendant photo via Shutterstock]

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145 comments on “American’s Flight Attendants Have Just Screwed Themselves

  1. Yet another reason for the grumpiest group in the sky to remain so. It really is a shame and I hope AA, as a whole, can pull it together.

    1. Have you read the Tenetive Agreement (TA)? Not just the highlights, but the full TA? Are you in the habit of signing open ended documents that are riddled with clauses such as “at the companies discression” or “to be disclosed” or “to be determined”? Many people on the outside, are absolutely unaware of what we were presented. We were unable to view what our union was presenting to the company, instead we were presented with the final draft and told “this is as good as it gets”. Then mid vote, one of the largest work related obsticals, was eliminated. After we were told no work rules could be changed. Again I ask you, are you in the habit of signing or voting yes on a contract with ambiguous language? I read the NPA and the TA, and went to the union roadshows. I voted NO. I would agree with “Cranky” that I fit in THIS category “There are others who read it but just don’t believe it. I’ve seen some things floating around disparaging union president Laura Glading. That alone could cause people to irrationally distrust her when she said this was the best thing they were going to get”. I can speak for many of us, we have been lied to and do not trust our union leadership.

      1. Totally agree with you. Our union sounds like they’ve given up because Fa’s didn’t agree with them. They’re still suppose to be representing us in the arbitration & be on our side but everything we hear from them is doom & gloom because we didn’t agree with them. There were too many unanswered questions. I sent emails many times regarding loopholes & asking for answers & never once heard back. We’re still paying union dues so support the FA’s who more than half didn’t agree with you & stop siding with the company who has taken from us for 10 years!!!!

    2. Perhaps the No voters needed to spend some time being furloughed for 10 years to appreciate the job they have…..but these are the, “union,” people who stapled another union work group to the bottom of their seniority list and then forced them to pay dues while on furlough.

  2. Profit-sharing is a huge deal. I’m forced to fly DL due to corp contracts, and I know we all hate Skymiles, but I can’t tell you how many FAs in the past few weeks have talked to me about the 1.2B that DL just paid out to them – or I heard them talking to each other about it. That is one happy crew.

    I’m glad I don’t fly AA right now. Those planes are going to be angry for a while.

    1. All APFA had to do is put out a health insurance comparison between DL and AA. The current best health insurance plan at Delta for a family costs $300 per month, has a $3,900 deductible, and a $9,000 co-insurance max. That’s well over $16,000 in medical costs for a DL flight attendant. The executives at DL are quite smart…they give them a little with profit sharing ($3,000 take home average) and then they just save all that money and then some on health insurance alone.

      I bet if many AA flight attendants knew this they’d stop saying how much better DL has it…

      1. Actually our PS is relative to your earnings. For most fa’s that work between 85-100 hs at the top of the scale (75% at DL) It will be around 8K, which can be all put in our 401K and not be taxed.

        1. Susy,

          In 2015 the Delta profit sharing is projected to be around 15%. 5% they already received and they were NOT able to put it in their 401k since the company threw it out at the last minute. The remaining 10% in February you will be able to place in your 401k, but you’ll still pay about 10% in taxes…but what good does it do you if you need the money now?

          Top pay at DL is $51 per hour now. Working 85 hours a month that comes out to $52,000 per year. So 15% of $52,000 is $7,800. If you want to take the money home you’re going to pay about 40-50% in taxes leaving you with $3,900. Since this is at top pay, my assessment that the average take home amount is near $3,000 is correct.

          So again, compare $3,000…heck…even $5,000 (which means you’re flying 100+ hours a month) and compare it to over $16,000 in health insurance costs. In 2015 it gets even worse for them since now their prescriptions will be subject to their deductible. So they’re going to have to come up with thousands of dollars up front even before their health insurance covers $0.01 in prescription drug costs.

          Like I said, their executives are quite smart and since their flight attendants keep not wanting to have a contract (they’re non-union) then they have no say over the changes that affect them.

          I have however heard they have KILLER hot dogs in their lounges. Maybe that’s what keeps their heads in the sand?

  3. Great, we are going to have some turbulent skies ahead…

    Regarding your last paragraph though, I’d probably disagree with you. From what my AA FA friend has told me, this union leader is nothing more than a thug in a cocktail dress. Something about them getting higher priority pass privileges (like AA execs), and when asked about it the union leadership didn’t deny it. The whole situation is a mess both on the leadership and membership side! I’m shocked at how this went down, but somehow they’ll find a way to blame passengers or AA management, not themselves.

    1. FWIW, union leadership at AA has had A5 travel privileges for…well…as long as I can remember. It’s not a new thing. Was certainly in place before I started there in the 90s, and probably long before that.

  4. I’m the furthest thing from a contract lawyer or a union negotiator, so my knowledge here is limited. But I don’t understand why the airline and the flight attendants didn’t agree to less money up front with profit sharing. Do you think this was something management didn’t want? Or the union wouldn’t lower their demands enough to make it work? It seems like profit sharing is such a simple way to reward employees when times are good, and make things easier on the airline when times are tough. Plus, it sounds like it might motivate the people at Delta to keep the operation moving along efficiently as possible

    1. Ben in DC – Yes, Doug Parker doesn’t really believe in profit sharing. His view is that profit sharing is something that was created by failing industries as a way to pay people less than they deserve when times are lean, and instead paying more when times are good. Instead, he believes in paying people good money consistently for the jobs they do.

      The reality is what we’ve seen before many times. People love profit sharing when times are good and the airline is paying out (eg right now). But as soon as times go bad, then the front line always gets angry and demands a raise. So he’s trying to end that cycle.

      Personally, I’m conflicted. I think there is some benefit to having people benefit when the company does well, but I absolutely see the boom/bust nature of this industry as being a problem. (And I don’t believe anyone when they say that we’ll never see a downturn again. Just wait.) I think the only real issue here is one of timing. Delta is paying out a bunch of profit sharing, so everyone else wants it too. But they won’t want to give it back when times are bad.

      1. I’m still laughing about your statement “Instead, he believes in paying people good money consistently for the jobs they do.” This is a nice PR clip, but his actions show otherwise.
        His lack of wanting a fair wage had FULL time flight attendants making LESS than $13,000 a year all the way up to the year 2013. The AFA (the legacy US Airways union) had a food pantry to help keep flight attendants off food stamps! Because even flight attendants with 10 years seniority made such little money a full time 10 year FA could qualify! Then he finally had to negotiate a new contract so that he could acquire AA. He never offered pay parity for the 1/3 of the FAs who weren’t making the same wage as their coworkers hired to work out of Philly, Charlotte. And Washington DC. Doug Parker doesn’t believe in doing anything to be fair to or benefit anyone other than shareholders.

    2. Ben,

      To answer your question, the membership were surveyed and told the union that they would prefer “profit” in wages, not on some theoretical stock profit. So, that’s what the union negotiated. No pity here.

    3. You do realize the AA FA’s already took a 33% cut in 2003. We were promised to be compensated when the company was again profitable…..1.2 billion is profitable!!! Our TA (tentative agreement) that was voted down, was done so because, there were of too many grey areas and open ended statements. Please try to understand, this would have tied our hands for another 5 years. This means we would have suffered with this current abomination of a contract for a total of 18 + years!!!

  5. I chatted yesterday with a good friend that is MIA based for AA that also voted no. Her first comment was she needed a lawyer to review it since it was more complex than any of the other contracts she has worked under. She also said the union and company did a horrible job about telling people the next step was binding arbitration and even what that meant. It was too confusion, and if you don’t understand the contract many decided it was a no vote. Sad for them, but they did make this happen.

    1. Nick – I really don’t understand how it is that flight attendants didn’t know what would happen if they voted no. There were updates sent out all the time in both great detail and succinct summary.

      For those who really wanted to understand in detail, there was something like this with a 10 minute video explaining:
      http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1450c9c25bd3b5096022a9f71&id=8d5f0b980d

      My guess is that people just didn’t want to watch a 10 minute video to learn what actually would happen, but there were other far more concise explanations. This update, for example:
      http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1450c9c25bd3b5096022a9f71&id=b200f5f518

      LAA and LUS
      Q: If the T/A is rejected, and therefore, sent to arbitration, how can we be certain we wouldn’t do even better than we did in negotiations?
      A: Under the terms of the Negotiations Protocol Agreement (NPA), the arbitrator is not authorized to provide more than “market based in the aggregate.” To bring our contract to market rate (without profit sharing) means $61 million of improvements must be added to our current contracts (CLA and Red Book).

      Adding the value for Profit Sharing (based on the company’s own published earnings reports and Profit Sharing potential), which brings our current contracts to true market rate, would mean another $50 million annually. Since the arbitrator cannot exceed Market Rate, this means $111 million of improvements to our current contracts is the cap at Arbitration.

      Our T/A totals $193 million in negotiated improvements. We secured $82 million above Market Rate.

      If the T/A is not ratified, the only things that are subject to change are the following six items:
      Wages
      Premium Pay
      Sick Accrual
      Vacation Accrual
      Medical Plan
      401(k)

      I just don’t buy that excuse.

      1. CF – I told her she was insane for voting no, but it was too late as the voting had closed. I asked her and she was influenced by some senior FAs that didn’t believe they would go right into binding arbitration.

        Its a really sad since who knows how the industry and AA will be doing in 5 years once the contract is amendable.

        Keep up the great work!

        1. I’m MIA based and I can tell you with 100% certainty the union was in operations for weeks trying to explain that this was going to binding arbitration if it was voted down. Any no voter who claims that this was not communicated by the union properly has their head so far in the sand they should probably not be flying.

      2. Have you read the Tenetive Agreement (TA)? Not just the highlights, but the full TA? Are you in the habit of signing open ended documents that are riddled with clauses such as “at the companies discression” or “to be disclosed” or “to be determined”? Many people on the outside, are absolutely unaware of what we were presented. We were unable to view what our union was presenting to the company, instead we were presented with the final draft and told “this is as good as it gets”. Then mid vote, one of the largest work related obsticals, was eliminated. After we were told no work rules could be changed. Again I ask you, are you in the habit of signing or voting yes on a contract with ambiguous language? I read the NPA and the TA, and went to the union roadshows. I voted NO. I would agree with “Cranky” that I fit in THIS category “There are others who read it but just don’t believe it. I’ve seen some things floating around disparaging union president Laura Glading. That alone could cause people to irrationally distrust her when she said this was the best thing they were going to get”. I can speak for many of us, we have been lied to and do not trust our union leadership.

    2. Cranky some times this comes down to station union leadership. I know when the fleet service contract negotiations for legacy US came down the union leadership did a horrible job of keeping people up to date especially on the night shift. They never really even directed us to sources that had more information and we relied on transfers that had contacts with stronger union stations to keep us up to date.

  6. This is sad. Not only have American’s flight attendants screwed themselves, they’ve also left potential money on the table for their counterparts at United and Delta.

    In the last two earnings calls, the American management team has consistently mentioned that they felt higher base pay and benefits provided more security for workers than “profit sharing” (especially when there may be no profits).

    Management, especially at the top, is used to having part of its pay “at risk.” Most workers aren’t.

    Maybe some of these people thought they could get paid more AND get profit sharing without the risk. But, of course, things don’t work that way.

  7. Plus, when you figure that this is usually an unprofitable industry, in the past 10 years, how many times would profit sharing have been been paid? I’d take more guaranteed money as well.

    1. I get that in the past, but this industry seems to be in a lot better shape these days. With all the fees, and less competition, it’s going to be easier to make money than in the past. Although I suppose airlines are great at letting history repeat itself. It just seems to me that if that is what held up the deal with flight attendants, then management should have tried to work it into the deal, in exchange for less money up front.

  8. AA FAs and pilots have always been a little extra insane versus the rest of the industry, especially now that US East is joining the fold. Sure, a lot of it has to do with AA’s dreadful management over the last decade, but why the self destructive choices above and beyond that? And why is it often centered around MIA? Is this shadows of EA?

  9. People vote against their own self interest despite the available evidence all the time – just look at the mid-term elections. Doesn’t surprise me a bit.

      1. Voting wisely, and/or in accord with one’s own best interests, requires an electorate/employee group that bothers to inform itself, difficult as that may be. Has anyone done research on the effect of the fast-paced, skimming-over-the- surface life of flight attendants (I say this as an ex-F/A) on the ability of flight attendants to sustain focus while doing a task that requires concentration and analysis?

  10. Number 5 is probably the most substantial; people often presume that union contracts are primarily about wages and retirement. In alot of industries, especially airlines, that is significantly less important than work rules and the bidding process for work. As someone in a workplace whose union was decertified, the biggest changes have not been wages or retirement (which have remained flat or unchanged) but work rules and the bidding process for internal positions. They have completely re-written the rules on the internal bid process, and work rules have become significantly more onerous, and the ability to mandate employees for overtimes has become very harsh. Without having the contract in hand and skimming over the work rules, it is hard to know.

    1. Sean S – I definitely agree that work rules are always a big issue, but those aren’t going to get better in arbitration. That’s the crux of the issue here. Flight attendants may not like all the details of this contract, but it’s not going to get any better. All that will happen is they’ll get paid less and still have the same work rules.

  11. So I just have to ask, any chance this goes full-on nuclear like the US Airways pilot union spat? In other words, the contract goes to arbitration, the FAs don’t like the outcome (they won’t), and so they just decide to de-certify and refuse to accept? Or has that option been killed entirely in the interim? I vaguely remember you discussing this in a previous post, and the answer was the law was changed to where this can no longer be done.

    BTW, the gremlin with the name and e-mail address of the prior commenter is back again…

    1. Mean – No, this can’t end up like the US pilots. Whatever comes out of arbitration will stick. (There was a change in law – McCaskill Bond Act – but that isn’t really an issue here since they’ve already agreed to the process.)

  12. Hey Cranky…the site is showing the private name and email of the last person to comment again. It needs to be fixed ASAP.

    1. This comment issue is getting my full attention. I’ve been having trouble figuring it out, because every time I think it’s fixed, it goes away. But a couple days later, it comes back. I think I may have found the offending code and I have removed it. If you still see it in there, it’s just cached right now and will go away.

      The one thing I have done to make this easier is I’ve currently removed the requirement to have your email address in there when you comment. If you’d like, feel free to comment and leave that box empty while I make sure that this has indeed been fixed.

      1. Well LOL – the last comment wasn’t the real me. Someone who commented after me (at 7:48 A.M.) apparently forgot to change the name and e-mail. Funny. Though I did also leave a note that the gremlin is back.

  13. “…so that the average of the United and Delta contracts would be used to create the American contract.”

    Delta FAs have a contract? Since when?

    Also, remember the old saying “Reject the first offer?”

    1. Kyle – Fine, you want to nit pick? It’s what the Delta flight attendants are currently getting paid. Obviously not having a union on the property, they don’t have a union contract.

      The old saying “reject the first offer” is complete suicide here. There is no second offer. Straight to arbitration which is guaranteed to pay less and not change work rules.

      1. Nit pick? What you say is true, however your original post is deceiving. Delta management can change any and everything as far as pay, benefits and work rules to their FAs and other work groups (with the exception of pilots) tomorrow if they so choose. That’s a huge point. AA, UA and others have legally binding collective bargaining agreements and Delta does not.

      1. What APFA should have done is put out a comprehensive comparison with the DL crews to show if indeed they take home more when you consider everything. I’ve seen the health insurance plans of both AA and DL, and I can tell you for a fact that with the out of pocket maximum some DL flight attendants will be paying over $12,000 in health insurance expenses alone. The profit sharing take home there is going to be maybe $3,000 on average. You do the math…

  14. Laura Glading, et. al, may have negotiated a great contract, and kudos to them for doing that, but ultimately they failed in working hard to see it voted in. That kind of leadership is just as important as what you show at the negotiating table.

    I sense a major upheaval in APFA ranks, perhaps enough to get AFA back involved and looking for a union merger/takeover.

    There’s no way around it: Laura failed to get this thing done, and American FAs (and, by association, FAs in the entire industry) are going to suffer longer for it.

    1. Alex – I definitely agree with all except for the AFA bit. I’m sure we’ll just need a new leadership team voted in – not sure why they’d bother going to AFA here. It’s a shame that this is what it came to because nobody will be better off.

  15. The name Test appeared in the name field of my browser. For a minute there Cranky I thought it might have been a competitor … Testy Traveler wanting to write something snarky :)

  16. I’d like to see American bring in some ex-NWA management for some real union busting chops! I’ve heard their move with the mechanics union is standard curriculum in business school classes these days.

    1. The AA SVP of ops came from NW along with quite a few other current AA officers/Sr. Leaders so I think they have that covered.

  17. What am I missing here? Do any of you expect the arbitrator to deviate significantly from the agreement that was voted down? What is the intellectual basis for offering the union more than the company gave, or to award less than the company was ready to offer? Arbitration isn’t likely to change work rules, or create profit-sharing, but it won’t “screw” the workers either, not with a framework already approved by negotiators for both sides. As often happens with close votes either way on tentative contracts, they end up being implemented, either by resulting in another membership vote or by having an arbitrator take the fall for decreeing it as final.

    1. The arbitrator is not going to give them near as much as the company was offering as the Union and AA already agreed previously that if it went to arbitration that the offer was capped at what the market aggregate was (the UA/DL contracts), which is significantly (83 million) LESS than what AA offered. Thus the arbitrator is not going to be allowed to give them the same offer as the one that they turned down. AA won’t allow this to be changed as the other union negotiations will be affected, AND the AA FA’s agreed to this process initially, before they shot themselves in the foot.

    2. It seems like the negotiations protocol agreement that the union signed was the big mistake. I don’t know any background on it but I don’t understand why a union would settle for something written that the arbitrators can give no better than market aggregate. After that what incentive does the company to negotiate any better than this? Even though they did.

  18. Still buggy – for me, the ‘Name’ field was pre-filled with “D-ROCK”

    Not requiring the email address was the right choice in this scenario – that will alleviate the concerns somewhat.

    1. Yep. I’m spending all my time on this right now. The problem is that it doesn’t always happen, so just when I think it’s fixed, something else pops up.

  19. I can still see it and I restarted my machine and flushed my cache. I had to manually change bandito’s name and delete that person’s email address.

    Sorry about the bad vote here for these flight attendants, but glad to be an Alaska MVP now. Those crews are happy and it’s a pleasure to fly that airline.

  20. CF said: It doesn’t impact me personally

    Wanna bet?
    That can only be true if you don’t fly or sell the carrier.
    Service was nothing to write home about before and it sure won’t be better now.

  21. Perhaps they actually felt that the limitations in work rules wasn’t worth the extra money. Some people value their lifestyle and quality of life, especially the more senior ones. Salary isn’t the only consideration.

    1. Bingo! It wasn’t about the $$. It was about the work rules and the fact that the contract was ambigous and had many TBD’s. It also has changed after voting begun. The union tried their best to impose a yes vote, but their strong arming tactics failed.

  22. Our contracts are extremely detailed and have a lot more than money issues in them. It was basically a zero sum contract. What raises we were offered would of been eaten by the cost of insurance. So, we would not have received anything in actuality . The most heinous part of the contract came in the form of TBD (to be determined), meaning we were signing a contract with many issues to be determined by the company. Things like how long you had to hang around the airport caring for passengers and not getting paid for it.
    Our pay is based on flying hours not how long we have hung around waiting to fly (with or without passengers to care for) . I know it is a lot for a writer to learn about, and I really do know how corporate friendly (not worker friendly) news agencies are, so I won’t be ugly, just ask you to check your facts before spouting off at the keyboard.

    1. Anonymous – So tell me what it is you’re expecting to get out of this? Binding arbitration is not going to address most of these issues. This isn’t a regular contract negotiation.

      1. cf, what were you expecting by writing this blog? the title is insulting. since you are not an actual airline union employee, I do see that it’s harder to understand. But, other than trying to perpetuate the company’s and union’s original agenda, I’m baffled by your commentary. You seem to only want to understand one side.

        1. JK – Oh I was most certainly expecting that I’d see a bunch of flight attendants fighting each other when I wrote this. I see that’s what I’m getting, though I was hoping it would remain more civil than it has. I should have known better.

          This has nothing to do with understanding what flight attendants want. It simply has to do with understanding the process involved. If you voted no, you have voted to get paid less. Maybe you’re protesting work rules, but it doesn’t matter because those aren’t going to change in arbitration. If you feel good about voting no, that’s your choice. I simply cannot understand that vote despite having spoken with people who think it’s the right thing to do.

    2. Absolutely. $53 an hour at top pay sounds like a lot of money for someone who is not in the aviation industry, and works more than just the guaranteed 71 hours a month. The benefits in working for an airline is in flexibility, good work rules, and seniority. All which would be harmed. The TA offered a lesser if a lifestyle. I guarantee you, no one ever tries to get an airline job for the pay. Do the research!

    1. Clearly, you don’t live in reality. The process was made abundantly clear to those who wanted to listen. Now we’ll have to live with the consequences.

      1. Are you a no flyer? Now you have to work. How much did I lose? About $177/mo before taxes minus healthcare increase cost. So, to vote for an incomplete contract was my issue. Sorry but that was my right and I wasn’t selling out for that small wage increase.

  23. You really don’t have a clue Of course you didn’t read the 260 pages of this TA with its vague and incomplete language, no timeline of implementation, missing sections, etc. Forget about the lies from the junkyard dog; “Best of both contracts,” “This cannot be changed (hard 40),” “I didn’t realize this was so important to the membership. We do have a lot of work ahead of us!!”

    Try to do a little more research before you write.

    1. I read the TA cover to cover and attended a roadshow. While there were things that I did not like, I understood that because of the unique nature of these negotiations, we will be getting these things either way. Most of this TA is not changing. A few items will be changed – for the worse. Maybe you should have done a little more research before you voted…

      1. I left exactly $177/mo on the table. Sorry, I do not agree to incomplete contracts. And I did my homework. Attended more than one of the dog and pony shows. Was disgusted by the way Laura spoke down to the membership. And as for town hall meetings, management obviously thinks what they are doing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. By the way, I did ask Parker several questions face to face. Didn’t like his reply either. Half the voters agree with me. Be pissed at the 4000 who could care less and didn’t cast a ballot. I exercised my right. And it was my right to choose between yes or no. This isn’t about money because I wasn’t getting any. That figure above, now subtract out my health insurance increase. Don’t be blinded by all those large numbers they threw at you. Too many at the company’s discretion or TBD’s on that contract.

  24. THANK YOU JIM!!!! Finally someone who gets it. You can always get more money, but once you give up a work rule, it is GONE. Perhaps we will end up with the same contract or maybe even one that I like even less. But will I vote against my own best interests for a contract I know to be inferior? I absolutely will not.

  25. You can clearly see some of the emotion that clouded this vote seeping into this comment section. Resorting to personal insults and vague accusations!

    The TA had mostly US Airways work rules which AFA often touts as “industry best” along with higher wages than any competitor.

    Maybe some US Airways FAs were upset about changing over to a more expensive healthcare plan but to say that the new costs eat up all the wages is patently false. And besides, the current US Air plan is a “cadillac” plan which means it was going away ANYWAY!

    The contract language was complete – FAs just dont READ! And the “vague” implementation schedule isnt going to change in arbitration either!

    FAs had a chance to do something pretty amazing and to show United-Continental how its done. Now a bunch of ill-informed, emotional, delusional, WHATEVER people have ruined it for everyone. So, so, so sad.

      1. Alfonso, I have an aviation degree with a minor in business. I understand what I read and couldn’t read because it was incomplete. I also understand the process. I also know that my no vote cost me personally about $177/ mo before taxes and deducting any healthcare costs. It didn’t really cost me a thing.

  26. try looking at whole picture. We have given up 340 million in 11 years. Even when the executives gave themselves bonuses with that money. Even when they filed bk with 4 BILLION in the bank (unheard of)….now, with the company more successful than any time in history, we are printed with a zero sum contract…yeah, 82 million in theoretical increase….but they dint tell u about the 82 million is cuts that go with it…or that part of that 82m was 3k for each us air flt attendant…or the 18k a year aa was giving to the union for trip removals….so don’t be too quick to judge. We get no overtime pay, no holiday pay, no crew meals, and they want us to take over cleaning 30% of the flights…we can see concessionary when it is presented to us…most of us were tired of bending over

    1. Melissa – If you want more money, try seeking one of those Executive positions. Based upon your spelling, there isn’t much of a chance but good luck. In the meantime I’ll take a gin and tonic please.

  27. They have actually agreed to go into mediation. APFA had the Fa group to believe it would go straight to binding arbitration. Lies. Apfa is full of lies and greed.

    1. Here we go again. APFA didn’t lie about this. Mediation was clearly spelled out as part of the process, but it will not result in a better contract. Per APFA “The company has made clear that mediation will be restricted to narrowing the issues to be presented in arbitration and determining the arbitration protocol.”

      1. Actually, they did lie, initially. It took to the MIA roadshow for them to admit that mediation would even be considered. That is when it then became “mediation, but only to determine the issues they want to present”. If you saw the flow chart the union put out, mediation was always there but the leadership would even acknowledge it. And they lied about the contract would have no changes but one important issue, when voting began and the union got the initial tallies of the vote, the hard 40 issue was changed. This really made a difference, we saw a huge influx of yes voters turn to no.

  28. I wonder how the voting broke down among age groups within the work force. From what I assume (a dangerous endeavor to be sure), it seems that older Flight attendants were the ones who largely voted “no.”

    1. no, the most senior flight attendants, especially the international one’s, primarily voted yes. It was a nice jump in pay for them and most wouldn’t live under the full duration of the contract due to many expecting to retire in year or two. Don’t try to make this an age issue. Thanks

  29. ‘Sometimes all you have in front of you are bad choices. But you still have to choose.’

    That sums up my thoughts on the NO vote.

    Voting NO wasn’t an easy choice, but it was one based in principle.
    There was no real substance to this TA.
    And we would have been locked in for FIVE years.
    Between the work rule changes, added insurance cost, etc, there wasn’t much of a pay increase.
    Keep in mind that we haven’t had a raise since wages were slashed 11 years ago.
    And, yes, no profit sharing.
    Add that to the multiple TBDs and the union’s condescending attitude, I’m surprise it was as close as it was.

  30. Big mistake and wrong information the 82 million that we decide to loose is not per year it on the duration on the contract that is 5 or 6 year that at the end is less than 100.00 dollars per moth taking the taxes out.

      1. and, to this day remains unexplained. at the roadshows, nearly every one, our union panel was asked to detail the $82 million. No, it’s confidential :) Just as they couldn’t show how the $50 million was “built in” to our wages. Before you criticize us too much, it would help if you were able to not only listen to our company and union and dissect it all. Did you read the implementation schedule?

  31. I recently accepted an early retirement from American Airlines. I was a flight attendant there for 24 years and before that an Eastern Airlines stew for 7 years.
    I can tell you from my own personal experience that your average flight attendant at AA is totally unaware of the FACTS when it comes to contractual dealings. Only a small percentage attend the Union Roadshows where the information is disseminated and the issues discussed. Most rely on “galley gossip” and unfortunately, there is a highly negative faction (anti-union) on the property that is reactionary and destructive. This group usually includes the laziest and most bitter of crew members. It’s like the Tea Party in the US.
    I believe that what the APFA leadership has accomplished in this volatile and cyclical industry is nothing short of miraculous. Laura Glading is a smart and innovative individual who helped orchestrate the best bankruptcy outcome this industry has seen.
    The “NO” voters have been pissed off for a decade and they finally got back at the Union and the Company and THEMSELVES.

    1. that is a completely false assertion. The no voters are as diverse as the yes voters. Believe me, I have seen very lazy and bitter yes voters. Just look at the aftermath of this vote. Throwing your ex-coworkers under the bus is more a reflection on you than anyone else. And it puts in into the same category of passengers who think their opinion is the only right one. I’m glad you retired. Skewing the truth to promote your agenda is more of a Tea Party approach than any no vote argument. Enjoy your retirement and the $40,000 that you got just to sign your name on the VEOP. You’ll take all you can but resent it when we are trying to fight for the betterment of our workforce. The is such a hypocritical post. PS How’s the D2R working out for you? :)

      1. Not true! And it is exactly like the Democratic Party ( which I am not a member)! The party of “give me more”. But glad you’re gone. No one needs to work with a co-worker like you.

  32. Cranky – I believe the responses to this alone prove your website is a valuable and influential tool. Thank you for everything you do. While I understand it is an opinion based upon vast experience, your posts are always knowledgeable and precise. I enjoy reading (except Wednesday – boo) and will continue to do so.

    Fly safe.

  33. What will be the duration of the new contract from the binding arbitration? Will it be less than 5 years? If it is only a year or two, that could have influenced a few no votes.

    1. Joe – I don’t know that it’s required to stay 5 years, but I can’t imagine them coming to an agreement that would last only 1 or 2 years. That’s pretty insanely short.

  34. this was not an easy decision for anyone. The union has lacked real leadership for a long time. This ta, the bad and the good, was reflective of the increasing value our firm has placed on the flight attendants. The implementation schedule was just as bad. The ta was front loaded with pay increases but the rest was to be determined, as soon as practicable, or applied only when preferential bidding is implemented. Not to mention the value concessions in work rules, insurance and no profit sharing. This contract did not have annual gains of $193 million. When pressed for answers, the union hid behind what the called “confidentiality”. No one, not the union leadership nor their panel of contract specialist, could break down the actual annual gains. The question isn’t why we didn’t vote this in, the question is who would ever agree to the conditions? Non airline employees don’t understand anything about our contracts. Not to the degree that it should be understood. You can armchair quarterback all you want but the simple fact is that we live it. The simplest example I can give on why this ta failed? If you wanted to buy a home, a contract is drawn up. It has the value of the home in big bold type face. Then you read the conditions of the contract. You find you are paying top dollar for a home full of structural problems. The contract doesn’t require the seller to commit fix the problems. In fact, they added clauses that require you to do most of the repairs. Even though your offer was for asking price, the actual value is 33% less. The repairs they do agree to allow the seller an undetermined amount of time to do the work. But that has conditions as well. Would you sign that contract? I wouldn’t and I didn’t!

    1. There are thousands of folks in need of a job who would’ve accepted what was turned down. As a frequent AA/US flyer, I think many FA’s can be replaced with people who want the job and are happier in doing so. I’m sad for the employees that gave away what was a good contract but I’m more upset for the customers who pay your wages that will surely receive worse service.

      1. Not that you would care, but I am vert good at my job and no one would ever suspect my feelings about my contract. It is called professionalism. Don’t assume that you can predict the outcome. It’s not your fight.
        You do not pay my wages. You purchase a product. You do not determine anything, other than your own attitude while flying. Most of our premium passengers are not unhappy with the flight crew. They are angry at the reduction of actual service items that are more than a little embarrassing to serve. They are upset that my firm reduced seat capacity and upgrades are harder to come by. The only people that have ever been upset with me is for actually doing my job by doing the compliance checks the fas require us to do. They don’t understand that compliance isn’t selective. While 90% of our passenger comply, there is always someone who thinks the federal air regulations shouldn’t apply to them. are you one of those people? Is your resentment towards flight crew because you have to be reminded that you are a passenger that has to obey the rules? Blanket statements about my profession are always suspect.

      2. I am a professional. My service is always professional. I promise you you get what you give with anyone in the service industry. And that old rebuttal, “many people would want your job”…. Fabulous. I have done more in my life than this one career. I deserve a decent raise and decent work rules. I don’t need to take any offer put in front of me because you, the passenger deem I should. I don’t sit around chatting about what you should do at your job. Why don’t you just mind your own business and stick to what you know. And get a life, instead of being so consumed and fascinated by what flight attendants do. It’s really a bit sad on your part.

    2. JK,
      So now you have to live with a contract (through binding arbitration) that will pay you even less money, with the same conditions you didn’t like in the first place. Sounds like you let emotion overrule logic here.

      1. Vasukiv, If that is all you got out of my post, I can’t help you understand. It’s easy to say emotion overruled logic. Each vote was emotional. Yes and no. Don’t presume to know one thing about me. Unless, you are a psychic, you do not know how this will end. You can assume, you can guess and you may think you know. But, my vote stood on principle that we will not say yes, another time, to a ta that has more concessions than perks. None of us are asking to be rich. Since I suspect you are a yes voter, I’ll leave you to your opinions. And yes, we are prepared for the consequences. I’ll still hold my head high for standing for what I believe in.

  35. What Thomas said is correct. There were roadshows at each base, but relatively few people showed up. There were town halls with AA executives at many bases during the voting period, and they’re available online if one couldn’t attend in person to ask questions, etc. At every single one, Doug Parker made it clear that if the TA is rejected, the resulting arbitration is NOT going to result in more concessions from the company. Yet, there were still many FAs who were victims of the “galley gossip”, and believed many rumors that were being spread by other FAs. Again, the accurate information was easily available if one wanted to educate her/himself. But I’ve found that instead of educating themselves, folks just like to b*tch and complain, half the time not even based on accurate information. As Thomas said, there’s a faction of “the laziest and most bitter of crew members” who tried to poison others with their negativity. I’m not saying that the TA was great, but cutting one’s nose off to spite the face is just not intelligent, I don’t care what “principle” you’re standing on. None of the things that have been mentioned in these comments are going to change since there’s been a NO vote. Healthcare is going up no matter what. Profit sharing is not coming back regardless of how much you want it to. So those who voted NO shot everyone in the foot, because not only are we still going to have to work under the conditions that people are complaining about, but now the extra that we would have gotten is off the table.

    1. you didn’t see the same arguments that I did if that is all you can say about no voters. All of the no voters I know are highly educated. They dissected the TA. There was a ton of conversation. Because the majority voted no, you find it ok to label them so derogatorily? You whole post is bitter and insulting to your fellow flight attendants. Why? because we don’t agree. I’ve seen such childish behavior from the yes voters, some have actually made me concerned for their mental state. And we are the ones that are accused of voting emotionally. Nothing is going to change the vote now. You either get over yourself and start participating in getting our union to actually fight, or you stay bi

  36. Lol. Re-read your post. I’m not the one who sounds bitter. Trust me, that wasn’t anywhere near ‘all I can say about the No voters.’ I was trying not to have my post turn into 5 pages. But my post was based on conversations that I had with many FAs who as Thomas mentioned in his post, seem to have been “pissed off for a decade”, and viewed this as their chance to get back at the company. Tell me that spite for spite’s sake is a good way to vote on anything…

    You asked, “Because the majority voted no, you find it ok to label them so derogatorily?”

    Please tell me where in my post I labeled anyone derogatorily. Again, my post was based on conversations that I had with many FAs, and I just couldn’t believe all of the misinformation that people were spreading around.

    And you know as well as I do that there was plenty of emotional voting going on. Ask anyone who attended the DC roadshow how things went there. Nuff said.

    1. Is it really any of your concern if we voted it in or not? How does this pertain to you in any way? I love passengers who live to tell us what to do, how to do our job, and think they know everything about it.

        1. Bebe, sorry my friend but you’re crazy. As an Exec Platinum, let me clarify something for you: 1) we “your premium passengers” you mentioned above, as a rule don’t sympathize with you. We tend to be business people who understand rational contract behavior, which your band of merry bandits did not exhibit. 2) we may nod sympathetically on board when you and your band bring this up- trust me, i’ve had some quasi unhinged angry flight attendants take digs at the company when i step up from my first class seat and am waiting for the lav, but with your seemingly irrational state often this is based on us having our own full lives and not wanting to get in to an arguement with you on board or risk having you spit in our meals.

          Let me be clear: if you’re so unhappy with your working conditions, leave. I can honestly say i know of no other premium travelers would would disagree with me. you’re toxic on board

  37. Seeing a whole lot of “we gave up XXX in 2003”. Well, a check of the calendar reveals that it is in fact 2014. This is now. That contract is not coming back, and voting no thinking it will just cost you money.

    Don’t you folks understand that?

    Here is a hard reality for you. Your job does not require any special skills. Sorry, it just doesn’t. There are lots and lots and lots of people who would do your job for what American is offering, and they would like it. See how easily they replaced all the folks that took the buyout.

    You aren’t horrificly underpaid. Not if a thousand people just as qualified as you would happily do your job for less.

    Keep in mind how many TWA FAs came back for your terrible wages and bad work rules, 8 years later. If the job sucked so bad they wouldn’t have come back.

    The mistake was in assuming it would be better with US Air. You and the pilots were so bitter with AA you made a deal guaranteed to kill their management team but didnt realize you were making yourselves a worse deal.

    My advice is to live with the economic reality of your job, or find a better one. That can happen. If your job is so bad, quit. Lots of folks would be really happy to take your spot.

    You got played.

    Sorry to sound harsh but accept economic reality.

    1. Well said, John. The number of comments about 2003 are really eye-opening. The economics of the industry have completely changed since then. To vote down an industry-leading contract because you’re obsessed with going back to the way things were 11 years ago is myopia of the first degree.

      I’m not an AA flight attendant, but I’m one of their planes as a passenger, usually in the front cabin, each and every week. The majority of crews are hard-working, friendly, and generally professional. There’s a minority who hate their jobs and act like they’re doing passengers a favor by being on board. It’s a pity the bad apples at AA can’t get out of the way and let the good ones shine even brighter. The company is doing well and reinvesting in its hard product, but the grumpy crew members are absolutely out there, and they do a real disservice to the ones trying to turn things around. This vote just highlights that.

  38. What the job takes is some training on how to handle passengers, first aid, and safety procedures. Its not that hard.

    It’s not just serving drinks but it doesn’t take any special skills or experience. Just becauss you’ve done it a long time doesn’t make it specially skilled.

  39. Profit Sharing is a big deal to everyone in any company and specially in Airline Industry its a standard and it keeps employees motivated….

    I think if Profit sharing is added to the contract everyone will be happy and it will be a go.

    If Profit sharing is not a norm than all the higher management should not get it either.

    1. Oh brother.

      Just face it. A group of employees just voted for a contract that will be less valuable than what was offered. Imagine this: I’m selling a car. A purchaser comes to my house and says that he’ll pay me $5000 or $10000 for the car- my choice. I choose $5000. Sound silly? Well…that’s what you just did.

  40. It is such a shame that there are idiots, such as yourself, that are allowed to print such crap. You clearly have not done your research, and your “blog” is full of misinformation. I’m truly sorry that you felt you needed to post something about a subject that you clearly have no understanding of. Good luck with your next piece. I hope you are able to do better than this one…

  41. While I won’t get involved in whether or not the FA’s make the wrong decision, I do believe that they deserve better. I’m actually kinda happy they turned it down. As a Legacy US (LUS) non-contract employee, every decision the company made for the combined benefits has always been to benefit the company and not the employee (tripling health care, less sick time, no time for express to mainline transfers, no profit sharing except for Mangers and above).

    Doug seems to have forgotten who helped him get to the position he’s in now. We worked hard with low wages because we couldn’t “compete” because we were at a “competitive disadvantage.” Well, we’re not anymore, so let’s be industry leaders, not just competitive. But as history usually repeats itself, keep dangling the carrot. Good luck FA’s!

  42. good ole unions will eventually destroy the company and the brain dead vote for them////sad that all think they need a union to waste their $$$ on dues that goes to politicans

  43. I saw a few people say to stay away from AA because of grumpy Flight Attendants, but that is NOT the case. As an AA/USAirways Flight attendant I can say with complete certainty, we are happy with our jobs, most of us love what we do. We are trying to get the details right on working together. The details of our work rules were not clear in this contract, that was one of the reasons it was voted down. As a “yes” voter I am disappointed it did not pass, but am still happy I have a job that I love!

  44. the level of toxicity and irrational behavior displayed by F/A’s in this thread saddens me. I’m a heavy traveler, Exec Platinum on AA and Platinum on DL, and it’s simply shocking how much nicer the DL flight attendants are- yes they’re just as “senior” but when i’m in Biz Elite internationally vs. AA’s Biz Class, the DL flight attendants are welcoming, engaging, and all-around charming. I just returned from LON on a new AA 777-300 in Business Class (full fare) Sunday, and the hard product is just outstanding, probably the nicest bed i’ve been on. The cabin was fabulous. The f/a’s? polite but disinterested, cold, and at best perfunctory. To those of you who claim DL can change their F/A contracts any time they want- why would they? DL is trying to differentiate themselves from a service perspective and from my chair are doing it. They’re earning premium yields and throwing off billions in cash. I despair when i think of the fact AA, in spite of tremendous recent advances, with employees like this, may ultimately be unfixable.

    1. Interesting, I was on the same flight from London to DFW on Monday, on a 77W. I was in coach on the way back this time, and I had the same experience with AA FAs as you did. With one exception they were cold and disinterested.

      There are some really good American FAs. I fly enough to understand that FAs get beat on from all sides, by unpleasant or drunken passengers and by management that doesn’t value them enough, and they have to be away from home a lot. So it can be hard, and after a 10 hour day at the end of a long trip with delays, surly passengers, and crying babies, it can be really tough to walk down that aisle with a smile on your face. I get it.

      But…this IS the job. That’s what it is. If you hate it, find something else to do. If you don’t, do as the FA above does, and make the best of your situation.

    2. The difference in attitudes between Delta employees and other employees is like night and day. Delta takes care of their employees (mainly to keep them from unionizing) but regardless of the reasons passengers see this. It becomes the company image. If they’re going to turn AA into the “greatest airline” again, start with the employees.

  45. As some one who flys AA a lot I can tell you that the frequent passengers view of FA’s is largely reinforced by the negative postings here. Uninformed, deliberately wrong and often petty it’s why flying AA and USA is so painful–the FA’s don’t want to be there.Why they just don’t quit -they’d be replaced in a second by really happy people-is mysterious.I don’t care if you torture each other just stop torturing me in the front of the plane
    Two groups get really screwed in bankruptcies–front line employees, and creditors ==the court could care less about FA’s -the courts job is to protect the creditors not the employees and the old American management was ready to screw the FA’s both short term and long term had they won and there was nothing that the union could do about it except get help to get rid of the old management before they really did their damage and cut the best deal they could with USA–they did just that apparently. But its not enough-it never is. Fa’s see them selves as the eternal victim but what they don’t understand is that Fa’s always have little leverage- because in the end they can be replaced and the recent vote has given them even less leverage I think–what are they going to do/treat us customers poorly in retaliation? They already do–whats new there? Hopefully sane minds will in the end prevail and they’ll be a big buyout and there will new faces in the aisles-happy faces..

  46. A good summary by Brett and some excellent points by others. The big flaw in this and most union contract negotiations is that -for reasons that I do not understand, union leadership and company management do NOT provide rank & file members with complete details when asking them to vote up or down on a contract proposal. This is not unique to the airline industry. All too often the union leadership presents only a summary of the contract’s provisions and far too much, ‘trust us; we’ll work out the details…” In years now long past, I too have voted against a probably good contract simply because the union’s leadership did not or could not answer the the membership’s questions. One must ask, “why not?” If anything needs a major overhaul, it is most likely union leadership and leadership’s ‘too close for comfort,’ relationship with management. IMO, choosing quality union leaders is more important than selecting a good mother-in-law and far more difficult. Some parts of this process still emit strong, unpleasant odors.

  47. I find it interesting that the NO voters keep going back to “talking points.” Much like the points constantly found on Fox News. A US Airways flight attendant with 15 years or more was set to make a 22.84% increase in pay over the next five years. A current fourth year at LUS was set to make 73% more over the term of this agreement.
    With the introduction of the affordable care plan, it was no secret that our insurance would change. Now, our insurance premiums and deductibles will increase but the value of the hourly rate will not rise to the levels of the tentative agreement. There are several flight attendants who take pleasure in pretending to be experts and leading the flock astray. Unfortunately, the flock consists of uninformed, angry crewmembers of all seniorities (even new hires.) I find it nauseating that flight attendants would vote no just to send a message to our APFA president. And now who do we count on to clean up this mess?
    I find it reprehensible that a flight attendant would tell any customer that “you do not pay my salary,” When, in fact, the “service” my company provides to you creates revenue. This revenue puts my airline in a position to maintain my employment.
    I don’t like APFA and it’s not because of Ms. Glading. I don’t like the bylaws and would gladly vote AFA as my union. As mentioned by many of our valued customers, what a pleasure it would be to come to work and have those employees that think they are doing the company a pleasure by showing up– gone.

  48. I’ve read comments, yet still can’t quite understand why AA flight attendants voted down richer proposed contract for guaranteed lesser arbitration?

  49. Reading this thread it’s apparent that all the bidness geniuses who fly in the front of the plane don’t get what many of the AA Flight Attendants are saying: the money would have been nice and we did leave it on the table because there were too many vague work rules and “TBD” statements/conditionals in the TA.

    Without understanding the work environment at the airlines as a flight crew member you can’t make an intelligent comment on the position that the FAs took. As a pilot I can tell you that work rules are what we have to both protect us and keep us (and you) safe. Without clearly delineated work rules the company can push and push and will, repeatedly. Even with delineated rules airline management pushes as hard as possible to squeeze everything they can, even at the price of (your, the passenger’s) safety. Believe it. Management doesn’t care if FAs work sick, if the FAA didn’t forbid it they would require pilots to fly sick and tired/fatigued. Work rules cover everything for the FAs from issues like this to reserve (a concept that has virtually no equivalent in non-Airline employment) to vacations, commuting to work (because we can’t all afford to live where we’re based) and a host of other things, scheduling even things like defining a “work day”. Ambiguity favors the company, why should they be allowed to “win” by default with a poorly worded ambiguous contract?

    You, Bidness Genius would never sign that investment banking/mortgage/other legal document that didn’t clearly delineate EVERY detail, no matter how insignificant, would you? No, you wouldn’t, not even on a bad day…you’d fire your lawyers and kick a puppy or something.

    FAs are there for more than serving you drinks. They’re there for your safety. I know that you might not believe that, but it’s true. They’re professionals and deserve respect for what they do, and not be subjected to that most corporate of attitudes too prevalent these days that they are disposable, unskilled widgets not contributing stakeholders who have made AA (and other airlines) a success.

    1. YouAllDontGetIt – That all sounds good, but what you’re missing is that what comes out of arbitration isn’t going to be any better than what was turned down. When the flight attendants turned it down, it didn’t go back for refinement or renegotiation. Were that an option, then this would be more understandable.

  50. A postscript to this thread…the arbitrator has ruled, and as expected, AA’s flight attendants got the lesser contract. So by voting no, they did cost themselves $81 million. And they have no one to blame but themselves.

    To YouAllDon’tGetIt…it is YOU that don’t get it, you and the American flight attendants. You could complain about the vagueness of the TA, lack of details, etc…but that was NOT what they were voting on. Voting no wasn’t going to change that whatsoever.

    We Bidness Geniuses make decisions based upon logic and reason, not kneejerk emotion because we are angry at the boss. Here’s a concept…we READ our contracts, and make the best financial decision we can, free of emotion that can take away from our ability to reason.

    Lastly, I will make the same suggestion to you, as a pilot, that I would to the flight attendants. If you are so angry at your employer and your customers that you hate your job, hate the boss, and hate those who pay your salary…then QUIT. Walk away and find something that makes you happy. Sir (or Madam) there are thousands of young pilots out there working their asses off, flying puddle jumpers into Godforsaken towns in Montana or West Virginia or South Dakota. And they make less than minimum wage doing this after borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to learn to fly. Those guys would be overjoyed to sit in the front of a AA plane, making what you do and dealing with what you have to deal with. Just keep that mind.

    Enjoy what you do and get out of the way and let someone else be happy doing it.

  51. I don’t care how we got the money back, I’m just glad I’m going to make more for the same job. At the end of the day it’s all about the MONEY! Merry Christmas

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