The President of the American Airlines flight attendants union Julie Hedrick sent a note to cabin crew members where she takes credit for preventing their airline from offering full beverage service in economy.
APFA has been successful in pushing off the return of a main cabin beverage service into 2021. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the last thing we need is increased opportunity for passengers to remove their facial coverings on the aircraft. The battle for a safe environment on board is already challenging. We have kept this airline flying, and the care and treatment of the front-line employees should be this Company’s number one concern.
American Airlines offers a full beverage service in front, but not in back. They’ve tried to bring drinks back into the main cabin for passengers, but flight attendants pushed back asking not to be required to offer this service.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants is a weak union with financial challenges and suffering from infighting. While around 8000 of their members were furloughed by American, barely a critical word was spoken of management – even though neither Delta nor Southwest furloughed any flight attendants. And as their members were about to be let go, they discussed what credit cards they could use for their business expenses.
And yet this latest missive is the most combative I’ve seen them yet. They were starting to talk about a new contract before the pandemic. Now they’re signaling to their membership that their employer may be seeing givebacks.
To be clear, American has a demand problem, not a labor cost problem, and we will not entertain discussions on concessions. However, the Company is using the pandemic as an excuse to worsen our work lives. Fatigue-inducing trip construction continues to be a significant issue, with multiple legs per day, unproductive sit times, and short layovers.
Furloughs are wreaking havoc with the lives of those flight attendants who remain. The airline’s head of inflight warned cabin crew their jobs would be miserable if they didn’t take early outs. They’ve reduced staffing on aircraft and employees now regularly complain about the trips to which they’re assigned.
Unsurprisingly, the union’s solution to everyone’s problems is… more airline subsidies which would keep management secure in their jobs.