I had intended to write about this last week, but got sidetracked. In early November I wrote about how American flight attendants rejected their new contract, which would have led to them getting a $193 million pay raise. This was interesting on a few levels:
- The flight attendants were the first to vote on a combined contract at the “new” American, so the way they negotiate sets a precedent for the other labor groups
- Out of over 8,000 votes, the contract was rejected by a margin of only 16 votes
- Both airline management and the union leadership were pretty clear about the fact that if they rejected the contract they would go into arbitration, and the most they could get out of that was $112 million, which is $81 million less than in the proposed contract
Just under two weeks ago the arbitration happened, and the results were exactly as expected — the flight attendants got a $112 million pay raise, but not a dollar more.
But what’s interesting is that after arbitration, the president of the APFA sent Doug Parker a letter asking him to consider giving the flight attendants the amount in the contract they rejected… and he granted it!
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said Thursday that American Airlines management had agreed to give its flight attendants an additional $81 million a year that members had rejected in a tentative agreement.
Kudos to American management for this. In my opinion it shows goodwill on management’s part, which is great, since you don’t want disgruntled customer-facing employees. At the same time, I’m not sure what precedent this sets for other work groups. Even if you vote down a contract, you can still always write management and ask for what you rejected?
Anyway, I’m happy this negotiation worked out in the end… sort of.