Flight Attendants’ Union Launches Multimedia Campaign with Message that Wall Street’s Shortsighted Approach Will Hurt Airlines and Passengers in the Long-Term
EULESS, TEXAS (May 12, 2017) — The Association of Professional Flight Attendants announced today a multimedia campaign in Texas newspapers, aviation trade journals and social media to counter statements from Wall Street analysts critical of additional compensation for flight attendants at American Airlines.
“It seems Wall Street is putting pressure on the airline industry to squeeze out more revenue, but they could care less about passengers or frontline workers, ” said Bob Ross, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “Analysts are claiming that a long overdue adjustment in our pay scale will reward workers ahead of shareholders. We’re going to set the record straight.” Ross tells workers’ side of the story in a commentary in an issue of Aviation Daily earlier this week. The union also is running advertisements in newspapers and on social media.
Following the recent announcement of pay raises for workers at American, CitiGroup research analyst Kevin Crissey was widely quoted as saying: “This is frustrating. Labor is being paid first again. Shareholders get leftovers.”
The real story, said Ross, is that shareholders received $9 billion in stock buybacks between 2014 and 2016 – plus $600 million in dividends over the past three years. That’s nearly 10 times what pilots and flight attendants will receive over the next three years.
In addition, between 2003 and 2012, flight attendants at American and the former U.S. Airways contributed more than $6 billion in concessions to help the airlines keep their planes in the air. Recent pay adjustments for flight attendants at American (which merged with US Airways in 2013) will bring workers at American into parity with their counterparts at Delta and United. Even with the wage adjustment, APFA members will still be earning less, after inflation, than they did prior to 2003.
As Ross explains in his commentary in Aviation Daily:
It wasn’t flight attendants… who made decisions to shrink space available for passenger seating, routinely overbook planes, and add fees for checked baggage and other services. But we are the ones who have to deal with passengers who are angry and frustrated over challenging travel conditions.
…Underpaying key frontline employees leads to high turnover and low morale, which is not a recipe for quality service. Treating workers fairly is a better long-term strategy.”
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants is the largest independent flight attendant union in the nation, representing nearly 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines.