'It would be historic': American flight attendants picket major airports | Airlines industries

Flight attendants are holding sit-in protests at more than 30 major airports across the United States on Tuesday as part of the International Flight Attendant Day of Action.

Picket line events are planned in New York City, Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and many other major cities. There are about 100,000 flight attendants across three different labor unions is expected To participate.

The protests come as more than two-thirds of flight attendants in the United States – at United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Air Wisconsin, American Airlines, Omni and Frontier – are currently involved in negotiations over new union contracts.

“The age-old sexism that has traditionally devalued our jobs must be eradicated and replaced with the true value of our work,” the group said in a statement. statement For the event. “The time we spend at work must be compensated. We need retirement security. We need flexibility and control over our lives.

More than 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines are represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). Been voted To authorize a strike in August 2023 with a support rate of 99.47%. At a Wisconsin airline, American Eagle Carrier, flight attendants voted 99% In favor of the strike permit more than 98% Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines voted to authorize a strike last month.

“For the wages we have, it's not sustainable. We can't live on these wages,” said Doris Millard, a flight attendant with Air Wisconsin for 44 years. She said her pay hasn't changed much since she started working for the airline in 1980. “I feel like I have to.” Give up my career and find something else or continue to live in poverty.

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Flight attendants are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) at United Airlines foot to federal mediation in December 2023 and staged numerous sit-in protests amid long delays in their fight for a new union contract.

“The federal mediator requested by AFA has scheduled the first negotiation session for March 19. We look forward to working with AFA to narrow down the issues so we can continue to work toward an industry-leading agreement for our flight attendants.” A United Airlines spokesperson said in an email.

Alaska Airlines flight attendants will announce the results of a strike authorization vote on Tuesday.

Melissa Osborne has been a flight attendant for 23 years and for the past seven years she has worked for Alaska Airlines.

She said union contracts have seen cuts in wages and benefits since the September 11 tragedy and deflation Which the aviation industry suffers from. But she added that working conditions have worsened significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when workers have had to deal with exposure to the virus, a rise in unruly passengers and, more recently, problems With Boeing planes.

“Even today, when I put on my uniform and go to work, there are several layers of anxiety that we all struggle with,” Osborne said. “I feel like this level of stress is not recognized by the company, they don't understand our value and what we do every day.”

I refused Claims From Alaska Airlines, the economic proposals presented by the Union were not feasible. Alaska Airlines and others emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with record profits and Alaska Airlines, she said gave Pilot pay increases are out of contract negotiations and more recently receipt Hawaiian Airlines acquisition deal.

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Osborne said the sit-down protests were conducted by flight attendants across various unions and airlines because they were all experiencing similar issues and fighting for similar improvements in the industry. She said that the idea of ​​organizing sit-in protests across airlines and various unions came from Iceland, where she attended a meeting. National women's strike In October 2023 in various jobs and industries.

“Look at all of us, we're all fighting over contracts, we're all facing the same kind of hurdles to overcome in our negotiations, and we're all dealing with the same corporate backlash,” Osborne said. “It will be historic. It is very moving to say to companies that we see what you are doing and we will stand together in solidarity. I have worked in this industry for 23 years and have never seen anything like this.”

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