AMR flight attendants sign a contract to push for US Airlines Merger
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AMR flight attendants

AMR flight attendants

A contract offer has been signed by AMR flight attendants. The ratification of the contract means that the cost in bankruptcy protection will be probably cut. As it was stated by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, almost 59.5 percent flight attendants voted to accept the contract, compared to 40.5 percent who turned down the offer. According to AMR flight attendants leaders, the result of voting shows the strong support for a merger between AMR and US Airways.

Yes for the contract offer

According to data, 59.5 percent of AMR flight attendants voted for American’s final offer, compared to 40.5 percent rejecting it.  The approval of the contract offer means that American is not expected to ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge for a supervision of the restructuring of AMR Corp., which would mean changing the current contract, imposing radical terms such as more working hours per month and smaller raises.

But voting for the proposal was not so easy to achieve. For the last couple of days, the union’s leadership had campaigned for voting as at the same time it warned that 2,000 flight attendants could be forced to take unpaid leave, if the offer had been rejected. According to American’s statement, the flight attendant ratification should be viewed as “an important step forward in our restructuring." Moreover it has been stated, that AMR flight attendants’ “yes” means that employees will benefit more than in case of saying “no” to AMR flight attendants’ ratification.

Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for American Airlines, is deeply convinced that the AMR flight attendants’ ratification is a step into right direction to have a successful restructuring of the company. He is also aware that the decision was not easy for AMR flight attendants.

By voting for the contract ratification, AMR flight attendants have joined the other 7 union groups represented by Transport Workers Union, which had already done it. However, AMR flight attendants has emphasized that their decision should not be considered a vote of support for American Airline’s executives.  According to APFA officials, the current management team is to be blamed for the tragic financial situation of American Airlines. In addition, the union strongly believes that the best solution for American Airlines is a merger with US Airways Group Inc. AS for US Airways, it has been pushing a merger with AMR Corp., which is the parent company of American Airlines, for a long time.

A problem with AMR pilots

The Allied Pilots Association had rejected to sign a contract agreement.  The new contract proposal was submitted last Friday; as a result the hearing in that offer is scheduled for 4th of September.

The contract signed by pilots is needed to continue changes ongoing in the company. Only the contract recently signed by AMR flight attendants will help to reduce spending by $195 million per year. However the contract should be signed by the court before it goes into effect. Currently pilots should be convinced to sign the proposal.

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  • John says:

    This new draconian agreement adds another 25% cut in pay/benefits to be added to the 33% cut AA’s Flight Attendants took in 2003. This means they are receiving nearly 60% less than they were in 2002 – with no raises to match cost-of-living increases. Most Flight Attendants at major airlines have at least a Bachelors degree but began flying careers for the flexibility in work schedule and free travel. However, the new agreement allows AA to create work schedules with 90+ flight hours per month (roughly 400 hours away from home p/month). With that much flying, flexibility is history. The other perk, free travel, is no longer free. A pass for one from Chicago to London costs about $200 one-way for an employee. Now that the average salary will be around 28-33K per year, there won’t be a vacation travel budget for most crew members. Additionally, flights are so full that it is almost impossible to find a couple open seats left for oneself and a friend on a leisure trip (employees are given the rare empty seat, if there is one, after all paying passengers, standbys, and management travelers are boarded).

    Most American Airlines Flight Attendants are “stuck” in their careers, unable to quit for greener pastures for two reasons. First, the average age of the workforce is 54. Most are too old to begin new careers and, after a decade of concessions, cannot afford to retire early, if at all. Second, younger crew members cannot find new work opportunities due to the decimated job market/economy. I predict, once the economy begins to offer options, there will be a “mass exodus” of cabin crew from most major air carriers in the U.S. This will have a very noticeable effect on the quality of service/safety/security on board our nation’s commercial flights. No one with marketable skills and a decent I.Q. will accept positions as Flight Attendants when the pay and benefits (and unbearable work-rules) are so poor. Airlines won’t be able to attract quality prospects. I foresee the FAA being required to reduce its stringent requirements (F/A’s getting a 90% or better on all written and performance exams (regarding demonstration of safety, security, and medical knowledge). Passengers will be forced to cross their fingers if the aircraft has an emergency landing, someone is having a heart attack, stroke, or giving birth, or if there is a bomb threat or hijacking. What will the frequent flier have to look forward to when he uses his frequent flier points to upgrade to first class? Well, any semblance of professionalism on the part of the crew will become a thing of the past. The “new” Flight Attendant won’t be the well-spoken, literate, intelligent employee with a strong work ethic of the then past. Business travelers can expect a first class service ala Denny’s style. Picture the help at your local frozen yogurt shop then you’ll get the idea. We get what we pay for, and uncontrolled competition between carriers has led to airline’s inability to pay for quality employees.

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