Airline News

Union Merger Rumor Spooks American Airlines Management

Union Merger Rumor Spooks American Airlines Management

My source within AA headquarters tells me that American Airlines management contacted APFA, which represents AA flight attendants, within hours of a Chicago Business Journal article being published regarding a potential merger between the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). The communications were “borderline frantic,” according to our source, as the last thing management wants is to have to deal with a union 76,000 flight attendants strong with the resources to stand up to them. It would truly be AA CEO Doug Parker’s worst nightmare.

AA management was told by APFA that there were no talks currently in progress. But frustration is building in the flight attendant ranks as American continues to exploit the workforce which has been working under a contract that was forced onto them as part of the airline’s bankruptcy filing. A growing number of American flight attendants want to approach upcoming contract negotiations with the combined strength of APFA and AFA firmly in place.

When it comes to things like a possibly illegal sick-leave policy, recently instituted by American, AA flight attendants see the need for a skilled legal team to successfully fight back.

In March of 2017, I wrote about the potential of a “mega union” when it appeared evident that the only way to counter airline management’s collusive approach to airline labor is for flight attendants across the industry to unite.

In an October 23rd Chicago Business Journal article, Sara Nelson, Int’l President of AFA, is quoted: “We need to build power by joining together. It’s important to recognize there are many hardworking activists at APFA who want good representation for flight attendants. The only way to build the power and resources necessary to take on a merged industry is to join together.”

In one message from Nelson, responding to an AA flight attendant, that was obtained by the Chicago Business Journal, Nelson wrote: “We need to build power by joining together. It’s important to recognize there are many hardworking activists at APFA who want good representation for flight attendants. The only way to build the power and resources necessary to take on a merged industry is to join together.”

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Gailen David is co-host of the nationally syndicated travel talk show, "The Jet Set". A former flight attendant, he leads a global discussion about "Jetiquette", the rules or code of civilized travel. Gailen is a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN and USA Today on topics related to the airline travel experience and of course, Jetiquette. Visit Gailen's website

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