Ex-American Airlines Flight Attendants Union Head Suing After He Was Found To Have Swindled Funds

Last year former APFA President Bob Ross was found to have misappropriated funds while running the union. An arbitrator’s award covered charges he billed a family vacation to the union credit card, improperly billed his personal furniture (and bedding and even toilet paper) to the union, and of having the union pay for a personal office he wasn’t entitled to among other alleged misdeeds.

Ross filed suit to overturn the arbitrator’s judgment, arguing first that he shouldn’t be singled out among past union Presidents for financial impropriety, and then that the accusations against him are all part of a plot for Sara Nelson’s AFA-CWA to take over the union.

A power struggle ensued between the AFA and APFA in which AFA ended up infiltrating APFA with their eye on a merger of the two unions. The result has been the use of APFA’s Disciplinary Procedures as a method of victimizing those within APFA’s union that stand against a merger between AFA and APFA.

…Since the day after Ross was elected APFA National President, his administration and supporters were met with stonewalling tactics, disparaging remarks, and conflict from those APFA members who remain loyal to the AFA agenda seeking a merger and ultimate takeover of APFA (“AFA/APFA”).

Some of the people who don’t like Bob Ross may be motivated by a desire to deliver the Association of Professional Flight Attendants into Sara Nelson’s hands. But when they’re gunning for you it’s even more important not to give them ammunition like diverting flight attendant dues to personal use, as the arbitrator found.

Now he’s suing the union for $1.8 million (plus both ‘all attorney’s fees’ and ‘reasonable attorney’s fees’) because, in seeking to collect debts owed as a result of diverting union funds to personal use, he says they violated government debt collection rules. (Lawsuit)

Once again he’s arguing that this is all a conspiracy against him by a rival union (“Vioations of APFA members’ rights have ensued in pursuit of the AFA agenda…”). He again claims the debts found by the arbitrator are valid, that his transition agreement out of his role as union President allowed him to keep some of the money, and that various other procedures were violated in trynig to collect the money back from him.

Ross was elected to head the flight attendants union after Laura Glading was run out for working closely with US Airways management on the takeover of the airline and on the contract that would be imposed on flight attendants after the merger if something better wasn’t agreed to and accepted (the ‘JCBA’). Glading was accused of impropriety because she’s related to former US Airways and then American Airlines executive Tom Weir. She’s now retired from the FAA.

The union has been weak and arguably mismanaged and rife with infighting. The rival Association of Flight Attendants which used to represent US Airways flight attendants, has certainly made moves in the direction of taking over.

Six years ago an American Airlines flight attendant grabbed a passenger’s stroller and nearly hit her baby. The whole thing was filmed. At the time Ross put out a statement that the real story about putting this woman’s child in danger is the passengers who stuck up for her should be prosecuted, a classic ‘but your honor, his face got in the way of my fist’ move. He was certainly a more combative leader of APFA, compared to what seems more like a company union today.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Jeez Louise. With s#!theads like this running things no wonder unions are in such dire straits. Is there some provision against competent union management that keep capable people out of the top echelons.

  2. “The result has been the use of APFA’s Disciplinary Procedures as a method of victimizing those within APFA’s union that stand against a merger”

    Even the crooks are victims now. I’m a victim because I got caught stealing — poor me !!!!

  3. Off topic, but it makes me think of an old teacher’s union official in Miami who went to prison for embezzling union funds — and STILL had defenders argue that a school should be named for him, because he may have had some failings but “did a lot of good”

  4. One wonders if he paid income tax on the diversion of Union funds to personal use. Perhaps in the other miscellaneous income category that people with less than legal work claim income.

  5. What? Everybody does it is a defense now?
    Debt? Huh?
    Why haven’t criminal charges been filed?


  6. Pig has no moral compass. Would bet he steals from duty free, the liquor cart and food sold onboard!!

  7. He is probably the one that also goes through flight attendant bags and steals their money too!

  8. You can’t make this stuff up. I know it was wrong but the past Union Presidents did it as well so now its an unwritten rule. Shame on you for knowing about this and not reporting it.. Just because others did this doesn’t make it okay. If you felt it was your right then you should have proposed a bill and have the members vote on it. YET If one of the union employees stole a something intentionally they would have them fired on the spot. Why do you feel the union owes you anything nevermind $1.8 million dollars havent already stole enough ?

  9. He is a thief; he is a thief, he is a thief!!!! It seems like to me most executives and leaders are thieves! And now he is going to sue. He needs to pay back all the money, he needs a multi-million dollar fine. Lose all credibility. Spend some time in jail! What a joker, don’t let him win!

  10. What about all the TWA Retirements that were stolen away because American would not give TWA their rightful Seniority.

  11. Bob Ross is a loser… Not only because he lost his livelihood as a result of misappropriating funds from the workers he was supposed to represent, but also because he lacks morals and has no shame! He’s wasting everyone’s time…

  12. @Delora this lawsuit has nothing to do with TWA. Maybe post that comment on a more relevant article?

  13. Excessive sweating can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable issue, especially when it’s happening on your most used chair. If you’ve noticed sweat stains or patches on your favorite chair after sitting in it for a while, you’re likely dealing with bum sweat.

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