American Airlines Union Leader Says Strike Unlikely

DALLAS (AP) – A union president at American Airlines said Thursday that federal officials aren’t likely to let flight attendants go on strike because of the weak condition of the economy and the airline.

The union and the airline have been negotiating for nearly three years. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants wants pay raises while the airline says labor costs are already too high.

By law, airline workers can’t strike unless federal mediators declare a deadlock in negotiations and trigger a 30-day “cooling-off period.” Mediators have declined to end the talks at American.

Union President Laura Glading said mediators cited the economy and health of the airline as factors last month. American parent AMR Corp. was the only major U.S. airline company to lose money in 2010 and analysts expect another loss this year.

“Based on the totality of these circumstances we must, reluctantly but realistically, conclude that (mediators) will not release the parties into a 30-day cooling off period any time soon,” Glading said in a message to flight attendants.

American Airlines spokesman Susan Gordon said the company would try to reach a contract that meets the needs of both sides and preserves jobs.

“The economic realities that the company and employees are facing are a challenge,” she said.

American is negotiating with two other unions, including pilots. Ground workers also asked for permission to strike after 30 days.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. IsItReallyMysterious? says:

    Here is a thought…. Change the business model. How is it that Southwest continues to be relatively successful? AA continues to do the same things over and over with the same poor results. It seems to me that AA should purge the top layer of management and bring in outside blood in hopes of shaking up the corporate culture. Otherwise, will it ever change?

  2. no surprise here says:

    I’m sure AA would like to change a lot of things about its business model, starting with an increase in productivity that would rival SW’s. One problem is that the dinosaur-like labor contracts are like a noose around AA and until more compromise is made, the airline will continue to bump along.

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