Last updated: 03:29 PM ET, Mon October 05 2015

American Airlines Flight Attendant President Offers Resignation

Airlines & Airports | American Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | October 05, 2015

American Airlines Flight Attendant President Offers Resignation

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Laura Glading, the president of the flight attendants' union at American Airlines who has been under fire from some of her constituents and some members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants’ Board of Directors, said she will resign her position effective Dec. 2.

Glading, whose tenure was set to end anyway in less than six months, had already indicated she would not seek re-election.

But the process was sped up by a growing dissent among many flight attendants who were unhappy she negotiated a contract with the merged American and US Airways that did not include profit sharing.

In her resignation letter, Glading wrote, “…our voice is not unified and I believe some appear to have lost sight of our duty to represent and advocate for our fellow Flight Attendants. Consequently, we have not always been able to do what we've thought was needed. We tried to institute new programs to better serve our members, including educating new hires on the whys and wherefores of unionism generally and APFA specifically.

"We tried to conduct a survey of our members last summer in light of the fact that the last major one we did was years ago and we haven't done one since the merger. For reasons that I still cannot fathom, a majority of the current Board of Directors rejected these efforts. More disheartening though, is the fact that they offered no alternatives that would similarly engage or benefit our members. That is precisely the wrong direction to go as an organization.”

Glading noted that under her tenure, the APFA went from the airline’s proposal to “gut our contract and eliminate 21400 jobs, to a merger that would result in the hiring of over 3,000 new Flight Attendants. If not for this incredible, unprecedented accomplishment, the 5,000 most junior Flight Attendants would not even be here today.”

Glading’s resignation letter was dated Saturday; flight attendants had planned to picket APFA headquarters today. That prompted former APFA Ad Hoc member and current Legislative Affairs member Tony Leonhardt to send a scathing letter to the APFA Board of Directors in response to rumors that that the union might call for Glading’s resignation at the board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

“I am writing to you again to reiterate my concerns about a continuing effort on the parts of some BOD members to pass a resolution at the upcoming BOD meeting calling for a recall balloting of the APFA President,” Leonhardt wrote. “Again, I strongly urge you not to take this divisive, union busting and more importantly, unconstitutional action.”

Leonhardt wrote that he personally would file charges against anyone voting for such a resolution, reiterating that it would violate Constitutional and Department of Labor laws.

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