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Flight attendants say they're ready to go on strike during the holiday season if they can't secure a contract.
The union representing flight attendants who work for American Airlines announced it wants to be released from mediation with the airline after being unable to secure a collective bargaining agreement with the company.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said it met with American Airlines officials as part of federal mediation with the National Mediation Board. The union had set last week as a deadline to make progress in its attempt to secure a contract with the airline.
On Monday, the union said it would ask the National Mediation Board to engage in a 30-day cooling-off period, which would allow the union to begin going on strike at the end of the 30-day period.
The timing of a possible strike could come right around the Christmas holiday if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement. In order for a strike to happen, the National Mediation Board would have to release the two sides from mediation.
“American management has not come to the bargaining table with the economic and non-economic improvements our Flight Attendants need to see,” said Julie Hedrick, national president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). “We are ready to strike to get the contract we deserve and have earned.”
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The National Mediation Board says that 99% of disputes it has handled since 1980 have ended without a work stoppage.
The union says its employees haven't received a pay raise since 2019 as it continues to work without a contract.
In August, workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize the union to strike. The union represents 26,000 American Airlines workers.
"Flight attendants are ready to take the steps necessary toward a strike as soon as this holiday season," Hedrick previously said. "We have advised management to respond meaningfully to the economic and non-economic proposals we’ve passed at the negotiating table. We don’t want to strike — but we will take those steps if management doesn’t respond meaningfully."
American Airlines says it wants to continue negotiations.
"Since resuming negotiations in 2021, the company has routinely met with APFA and presented proposals that maintain our commitment to paying our team members well and competitively," the airline said. "For months now, we’ve had an industry-leading economic proposal on the table, and we continue to make progress on other items, including as recently as last week. We stand ready to continue working with APFA and with the support of the National Mediation Board to reach an agreement that our flight attendants have earned."
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