American Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike

American Airlines flight attendants may walk out after voting Wednesday to authorize a strike.

More than 26,000 flight attendants from the world’s largest air carrier voted in favor.

“We are the face of American Airlines,” flight attendant Cindi Dunfee told ABC 7. “All we are asking for is the same thing anybody else would ask for: a decent wage, decent work rules and quality-of-life issues.”

The workers say the airline is stretching their workdays to the Federal Aviation Administration’s maximum hours and giving them the minimum rest time required by the agency’s rules.

They are calling for an immediate 35% raise and 6% annual raises, citing hazards in performing their jobs like the risk of COVID-19 infection and violent and unruly passengers. They have not received raises since 2019.

The airline is in federal mediation with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which means the American attendants would not be able to go on strike until 30 days after mediation ends — unless negotiations break down before talks conclude. However, the president and Congress both have powers to delay or block airline strikes.

Union President Julie Hedrick said the members were “fired up” and the vote should be seen as a serious gesture. American attendants previously went on strike several days before Thanksgiving in 1993.

In a statement, American Airlines said it was “proud of the progress” made so far in its negotiations with the union.

Several related unions joined the American flight attendants picketing at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday.

In May, American Airlines’ pilots union voted to authorize a strike, but it ratified a four-year contract worth more than $9.5 billion for its 15,000-plus members last week.

The strike vote comes two days after the Department of Transportation fined American for keeping passengers on planes that were delayed for longer than three hours.

United Airlines flight attendants are also pushing for a new contract and plan to picket at airports across the country Thursday.

With News Wire Services

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