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American Airlines flight attendants plan strike vote

In this March 25, 2020, file photo, American Airlines jets sit idly at their gates as a jet arrives.
Matt York
Associated Press
The more than 26,000 members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants will vote later this month whether to strike if a new agreement with American Airlines isn't reached.

Frustrated flight attendants for American Airlines could strike before the end of the year if an agreement isn’t reached.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants board of directors voted unanimously Monday to allow the group’s negotiating committee to conduct a strike authorization vote.

From July 28 through Aug. 29, the APFA’s more than 26,000 members will vote up or down whether to walk.

APFA spokesperson Paul Hartshorn, Jr. said flight attendants worked through the pandemic, then watched inflation soar without a cost of living bump.

“We’re confident that the pressure will move American Airlines to get this done,” he said. “It’s been over 4 years. The passengers are back, the profits are back. We’re ready for staffing to return and to have a deal on the table.”

American Airlines flight attendants have worked without a raise or a contract since 2019.

It’s time for American Airlines management to show Flight Attendants the respect they are due through appropriate pay and improved working conditions,” AFPA national president Julie Hedrick said in a statement. “We are ready for American Airlines to bring these negotiations to a close.”

American Airlines responded to the APFA's strike authorization vote with this statement: We look forward to reaching an agreement with APFA quickly so that American’s flight attendants can benefit from a contract that provides them with real and meaningful value. We continue to meet regularly and appreciate the National Mediation Board’s recent support as both American and APFA work to reach an agreement our flight attendants deserve.

The results of the strike authorization vote will be announced on Aug. 30, when flight attendants will picket at bases around the country. If the vote is successful, members could strike, if necessary, following mediation and an optional 30-day cooling off period.

Earlier this year American Airlines’ pilots union set aside plans for a strike after leadership reached a tentative agreement with the Fort Worth-based carrier.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.