Flight attendants at American Airlines have held picket rallies at 11 major airports in the U.S., over the airline rejecting new union contract proposals from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 25,000 of its flight attendants.
The Guardian reports that the move is the latest in a series of industrial actions and disputes to have hit the U.S. airlines industry as it recovers from the COVID pandemic. Workers and unions say that the industry has sought to return to normal without addressing serious problems, especially around pay and staffing levels.
Negotiations were initially delayed due to COVID, but restarted in August 2021. Since that time, the company has rejected improvements sought by workers.
Julie Hedrick, national president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, noted the union is pushing for pay rises, better flexibility for flights, and improved operational reliability, as American Airlines reported a profit of $478m in the third quarter of 2022, including record revenue.
American Airlines is not the only U.S. carrier in conflict with its workers.
Nearly 10,000 pilots at United Airlines voted down a tentative agreement on November 2 and picketed outside the United Airlines Flight Training Center in Denver, Colorado, on November 15 over delays in coming to an agreement acceptable to pilots.
In September, flight attendants at Southwest Airlines and United Airlines held picket protests at airports around the U.S. to protest delays, operational issues and the working conditions posed by the delays.
At Delta Airlines, nearly 15,000 pilots voted to authorize a strike with 99% voting in favor, the first strike vote taken at Delta since 2006.