American Airlines Gets Crucial Labor Deal with Flight Attendants
By Brian Major
August 20, 2012 10:33 PM
American Airlines moved a step closer to realizing its plan for reorganization when its flight attendants accepted its contract offer, which will help the airline cut labor costs. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents American flight attendants, said the contract was approved by 59.5 percent of the 92.8 percent of the 13,544 eligible voters who cast ballots. American had threatened that it would simply void the current contract and impose even more cost cutting.
American has already reached a contract agreement with its machinists’ union, which represents ground workers, but its pilots rejected a tentative contract earlier this month. American has said it needs to save $1.06 billion a year in overall labor costs.
On the other hand, the flight attendants’ vote doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with American’s management on the future course of the airline. The APFA said it will continue with our strong and concise message that we have zero confidence in this management team.” The flight attendants have already reached an agreement for some concessions with US Airways if that carrier mounts a bid for American.
Meanwhile, American renewed its request with the United States Bankruptcy Court in New York to end its existing collective bargaining agreements with the Allied Pilots Association and impose stricter contract terms. In an Aug. 15 ruling, however, Judge Sean Lane denied American’s original motion in part because it would give the carrier unrestricted ability to lay off pilots temporarily and share flights with other carriers. American’s rejected American’s most recent offer by 61 percent to 39 percent on Aug. 8. American’s pilots also have reached an agreement with US Airways if it were to acquire American.