American Airlines Tells Security: Look Out For Flight Attendants In Union T-Shirts

American Airlines flight attendants, led by union President Julie Hedrick, delivered a letter of ‘no confidence’ in management to Senior Vice President Brady Byrnes on Thursday. The airline’s reaction to union members at ‘Skyview’ corporate headquarters was to put out a memo to security to “BOLO” – Be On The Lookout – for anyone wearing a union t-shirt.

Aviation watchdog JonNYC shares:

Flight attendants are reacting strongly, feeling like they’re being compliant with an approved red lanyard and the name of their union. There’s no slogan. About a week ago, American Airlines told union members they couldn’t wear shirts with slogans (in that case, We Are Ready whose acronym ‘WAR’ symbolizes their intention to go to war with the company and strike).

Section 16.E. of the JCBA prohibits wearing t-shirts and slogans when deadheading. Additionally, in Training, we’ve had a longstanding business casual dress code for training, and shirts with slogans are not in line with that policy.

A flight attendant shares this, which is going around American Airlines cabin crew. The shoes are quite the meme, as JonNYC observed.

While American and their flight attendants are far apart on pay negotiating a new contract – the last one became amendable four years ago – bringing security into this doesn’t seem like the best way to calm tensions as the union is talking up a strike.

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. Union-management relations at AA have always been “challenged.”

    Passengers pay the price.

    Competitors reap the benefit.

  2. I thought the US airways merger was going to solve all this 🙂

    Doug was always at the wrong AA meeting. He ruined two good airlines to make one.

  3. @SMR – Unfortunately you’re 100% correct. And the AmericaWest legacy of destroying full service airlines continues at both AA and United.

  4. I can’t imagine a more despicable organization leading a more despicable group of people than an AA FA union. When you hate your job, are terrible at your job, hate your employer, and then demand 50% more money, it’s time to rethink your life choices.

    AA, just lockout the union. Hire new employees that actually want to do the job. Thousands will line up to apply. Short term pain for long term gain.

  5. AA might be in some hot water over this with NLRB.

    Per website:
    “Today, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision in Tesla, Inc., in which the Board overruled Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 146 (2019), and reaffirmed longstanding precedent holding that employer attempts to impose any restriction on the display of union insignia, including by wearing union apparel, are presumptively unlawful, absent special circumstances that justify such a restriction. “

  6. Gemma,
    If the National Mediation Board (NMB) has similar guidance, that might matter. Otherwise, AA’s union relationships don’t fall under the purview of the NLRB. AA and other transportation groups fall under the Railway Labor Act via the NMB rather than the NLRA.

  7. @Mantis . You are venting which is your right but with incorrect information. The law was changed years ago that Airlines (at least) cannot hire permanent replacement workers. Only replacement workers until the dispute is over.
    So bark all you want you if you want the law changed . I suggest your write to your congressional delegation.

  8. @Mantis

    Agreed! They knew what they were signing up for. Just like anyone else, if you don’t like it then move on. There’s always someone else who can appreciate whatever you offer.

  9. They deserve everything they’re asking for!! Everyone else is getting paid more! Their pilots made out like bandits!!

  10. @Mantis: You sure sound like you’re in management. I wonder how much more (as in X the lowest paid employee).that ‘upper’ Mgt makes in comparison? Slash those people’s salaries by 10-20% and everyone gets a higher standard of living. Just because someone asks for more money doesn’t mean they hate their position.

  11. I used to be a AA customer. A 100K miles or so shy of 1M miles. Have not used them or their partners in a decade or so. Coming up on 2M miles with UA. My question. I have never been part of a union. That said, where can I buy a shirt and lanyard?

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