CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Thousands of American Airlines flight attendants are picketing at major U.S. airports, including a group in Charlotte.
The flight attendants, represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), are frustrated over issues with contract negotiation with American Airlines.
“[We get] no support from the company. They treat us like a number instead of human beings,” American Airlines flight attendant Kathrin Leefers said.
Their current contract with the airline became amendable back in 2019. Two years later, it’s still the same.
“We were here during COVID. You know, we have flight attendants that were furloughed. We have flight attendants that took leave to make this company sustainable,” said American Airlines Flight Attendant and Charlotte Union Representative Charles Stark. “We didn’t want the company to go out of business, so we did what we could do, and we don’t feel now that the company is reciprocating that now that we are back to profits.”
The APFA is in negotiations with the airline. Flight attendants demand higher pay, longer breaks between flights and better working conditions.
“The company, at this point, is just rejecting everything the union is even proposing,” Stark said.
“We now have awful construction of our trips. We are working 12+ hour days with minimum rest. We are exhausted day after day, plus on top of that, unruly passengers,” Leefers said.
American Airlines officials issued a statement in response to the protest. They said that they regularly meet with the flight attendant’s union to find a compromise.
“Today is all about getting out to the people that everything that affecting us is affecting them as well,” Stark said. “Things that we are proposing in our contract would actually help our customers.”
A new labor agreement would likely increase airline costs, creating higher passenger fees. If negotiations fail, Charlotte union reps said a strike is possible.