American Airlines Flight Attendants Voted On New Union Officers, And Nobody Won

The American Airlines flight attendants union released results of their officer elections, and not a single officer gained a majority of votes so a runoff will be held among the top two finishers for each position.

Here’s the breakdown of results by flight attendant base:

APFA President Julie Hedrick came out on top in a seven-way race by just 659 votes. She lost Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas – Fort Worth, Miami and New York to A. Marie Plevaritis. In other words, Hedrick’s strength came primarily from legacy US Airways (she won all of the exclusively US Airways bases, and only Chicago O’Hare and Miami by 54 votes among exclusively American bases). There remains a split among ex-AFA US Airways flight attendants and those from the American Airlines side.

Hedrick was a legacy American Airlines flight attendant, selected by APFA President Laura Glading as the union’s lead negotiator. Glading was the union head who backed Doug Parker’s US Airways takeover of the airline. She cut a deal that:

  • Gave flight attendants – and disproportionately US Airways flight attendants a raise
  • Imposed a default contract (“JCBA”) on the membership if they voted down an agreement with the airline
  • Gave union leaders a big (over 40%) raise, in the form of 115 hours a month of trip removal

Glading played a huge part in making the merger happen and while I believe she believed she was acting in the best interests of her members (a strange take considering how bad US Airways had been for labor – unable even to integrate America West), many cabin crew believe she conspired with her cousin, then-US Airways Treasurer Tom Weir.

While all current officers polled in first place in these elections, the need for a runoff likely delays any contract agreement with the airline. It’s precisely how close the fight was, and how divided the membership is, which is why the union has been in no position to compromise on a contract prior to re-election. It’s difficult to walk back campaign promises – doing so would almost certainly ensure a loss of position if done before balloting is complete. Now there will be a run-off election:

  • ballots mailed February 5
  • voting closing March 6

The problem is that, in the meantime, APFA is asking the National Mediation Board to be allowed to strike. Their next negotiation session is February 5th, and they have a status conference on March 13th. Whether the current slate of officers is re-elected or not, there should be negotiations after the election when there’s less immediate pressure to ‘show strength’ and ‘make promises’ and where compromise might be possible.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Is it an election year for union leadership or the government?”


    No way the Biden Administration would allow a strike to occur in an election year, after all the NMB would have to allow a WN and UA strike too and that is nothing but bad publicity for Biden.

  2. surprise, surprise.
    Labor politics – at least for the FAs – reflects the AA/US merger – which has left the company w/ poorly conceived and executed strategies that are constantly changing.

  3. I looked up how many American Airlines flight attendants there are. There were over 27,000 in 2020 and over 30,000 in 2019 (American Airlines 2020 Workforce Demographics pdf). Wikipedia says that there are over 28,000. It seems to me that most are not voting even considering that some might not have vested voting rights yet. Are they too busy looking at their smart phones to waste time voting?

  4. I’m waiting for the “fire them all and hire people who really want to work” comments….1,2,3.

  5. Why the need to do a mail in ballot? Its 2024. Especially with the younger group of f/a’s, everything is done on your phone these days. When voting was done “online” for a strike vote the voting percentages were spectacular. The junior flight attendants are too broke and busy flying to make a living to find their ballots and mail them in.

  6. Staggeringly low voter participation considering how many of the FA’s are unhappy about their wages, you would think they would want a say in their union leadership

  7. No truer than today are the words I heard from a piano player/singer in the lounge at the Ramada at Des Moines Airport years ago….. “There are no winners in a game of losers.”

  8. Overwhelmingly low turnout considering they have nearly 27k members. They either don’t care for the candidates to vote for any of them or some are too tired from crushing candy or ticky tocking in the aft galley with the seat belts blocking the entry.

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