Airline Union Turbulence Ahead

by | Aug 25, 2022 | Travel, Unions

This summer’s airport chaos doesn’t seem to be winding down anytime soon with delays, cancellations, and staffing shortages still running amuck. To no one’s surprise, unions want to leverage the situation, which isn’t going so well at American Airlines.

The clashes between this airline and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) keep stacking up, this time with the union negotiating on scheduling. The issue continues to meet challenge after challenge with the pandemic thinning out staff, and the union now seeks to eliminate on-call status for senior flight attendants.

Interestingly enough, the union helped to create this chaos by making it possible (during the pandemic) for senior attendants to be paid not to fly while junior attendants worked. Now, the union and the company are both blaming senior attendants for contributing to travel chaos by signing on to more appealing flights and then trading them to junior attendants for a kickback. No easy solutions are coming for that mess.

Meanwhile, Delta continues to be the least-unionized major U.S. airline, but flight attendants (which haven’t unionized so far) want to change their status. Card gathering is underway, and that means that Delta’s 23,000 flight attendants could soon vote on whether to join the same union that’s causing so much increased friction at AA.

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