Ex-Flight Attendant Union Boss Says Sara Nelson’s Union Behind Corruption Allegations Against Him

Five years ago an American Airlines flight attendant grabbed a passenger’s stroller and nearly hit her baby. The whole thing was filmed. Then-flight attendants union head Bob Ross put out a statement that the real story about putting this woman’s child in danger is about the passengers who stuck up for her – because they’re the ones suffering from ‘air rage’ and should be prosecuted. It was a classic ‘but your honor, his face got in the way of my fist’ move.

Ross was elected to head the flight attendants union after Laura Glading was run out of the union 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 Executive Director of the Office of Labor and Employee Relations at the FAA.

The union has been weak and arguably mismanaged and rife with infighting. Sara Nelson, head of the rival Association of Flight Attendants which used to represent US Airways flight attendants, has been salivating about taking over.

Recently 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 having the union pay for a personal office he wasn’t entitled to among other alleged misdeeds.

Ross has filed suit to overturn the arbitrator’s judgment. He had previously argued, in effect, that he shouldn’t be singled out among past union Presidents for financial impropriety, and that his improper financial practices had been approved by his subordinates.

Now he’s arguing, among other claims, that the accusations against him are all part of Sara Nelson’s plot.

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.

Meanwhile Delta flight attendants aren’t stuck dealing with any of these people.

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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Comments

  1. Wow. I know it wasn’t the main point of the article, but somehow I completely missed that Glading is now Executive Director of the Office of Labor and Employee Relations at the FAA.

    Nice illustration of the corruption of Federal agencies.

  2. Saying “Delta isn’t dealing with any of these people.” Is so beyond… lol yeah they’re dealing with being overworked and barely able to breathe without the risk of getting fired. Union are a necessary evil. Wouldn’t expect someone who’s never worked a day in this industry to report on it with facts.

  3. American Airlines and APFA is nothing short of an abusive relationship and the APFA playing the role of enabler. As to Glading, she should be in jail for her role in the merger. Kudos to you for writing about her doing FAA work – things that make you go hmmmmm

  4. Flight attendants shouldn’t be unionized.

    They are basically just waitresses.

  5. I’m looking for all Flight Attendants that have been reprimanded or terminated by United Airlines regarding LTD Long Term Disability Cigna. Greatly Appreciated for any information.

  6. The corruption of upper airline management, including newly retired CEO, Doug Parker at American Airlines is the problem. There is a law case that is available to the public that was filed in Massachusetts courts that proved fraud. Inter office emails were exposed and depositions were taken and available for viewing. Emails between Laura Gladding and Doug Parker’s (rumored) girlfriend, Cindi Simone – manager of Labor Relations, plotted and planned on how to get what they (the Company) wanted. They did what they wanted and Simone made sure you did not get fairly represented if you complained. Simone signed perjury documents in the Massachusetts case Van v American. They even disclosed defrauding AFA union. Sarah Nelson should represent flight attendants. APFA in house union continues to be found dirty, violating labor laws as well as civil rights. They acted fraudulently in their plans to not tell AFA. Further, the Company basically steals from employees with third party “glitches” with no real money compensation always in time for stock holders meetings. Then if they want something from a union member, like voting for a contract, they bribe you with a signing bonus. The person that said they should go to jail is actually accurate. APFA should be decertified. Will Glading be the catchment at the FAA? She stored her payouts and payoffs. She should be in jail too. She is directly implicated and on email chains in the Van case which can be found publicly on Pacer.

  7. Wow, another anti union piece of garbage from Gary Leff, disguised as journalism. Gary, take a seat. Take several seats. Maybe you should stick to subjects you actually know and/or can report on factually and responsibly instead of the constant smear campaign you seem to have planned for unions, AFA and Sara Nelson. It is tiresome. I used to enjoy reading articles from viewfromthewing, but if all you’re going to produce is factually incorrect garbage, you have lost a long time supporter.

  8. Union leadership rarely makes sense except in an organized crime or Democrat utopia plan. What’s next for Glading? A place on the National Mediation Board maybe.

  9. @None

    All flight attendants are being overworked and and barely able to breathe and can’t complain to much without getting fired. Yes, even the Union folks because if they step out of the union official line to complain, they are trampled on by the upper management of the union who retaliate and label them a heretic. It’s in the bylaws; go against the union line, get fired.

    Why should Delta FAs pay for the privelege of the same treatment when they can do it for free and with less repercussion? The APFA/AFA infighting has been going on for years and is utterly ridiculous. This infighting can be better spent on taking care of dues paying members instead of fighting stupid battles and trying to get Delta in. Are they getting paid for boarding yet? Thought not.

  10. Unbelievable last that fricken gladding should be doing is ANYTHING in the airline business what a huge cancer diseased tumor she was!!!

  11. To None says says:
    Look up On Pacer case Van v AA in Massachusetts court and you will find a “Scott” in some of the documents. Not sure if that’s your management now. That might explain some of the changes at UAL.

  12. There is no AFA at American Airlines. All flight attendants are represented by the APFA. Your article is a misrepresentation of our current post merged company. Your comments about unionized flight attendants is prejudiced and slanted.

  13. I was with American Airlines for many years. I actually saw the good, the bad, and the ultra ugly transpiring during those years. Many of the statements that were made on view from the wing are totally accurate, and yes, funds were misappropriated. A case in point: where in the heck did our free funding money go to? Why are flight attendants having to scramble for hotel rooms on layovers? Why does American Airlines think that excellent service can be provided with a minimum crew? It just goes to show you that you can take the airline out of Tempe Arizona, but you can’t take Tempe Arizona out of the airline!

  14. I was with American Airlines for many years. I actually saw the good, the bad, and the ultra ugly transpiring during those years. Many of the statements that were made on view from the wing are totally accurate, and yes, funds were misappropriated. A case in point: where in the heck did our pre- funding money go to? Why are flight attendants having to scramble for hotel rooms on layovers? Why does American Airlines think that excellent service can be provided with a minimum crew? It just goes to show you that you can take the airline out of Tempe Arizona, but you can’t take Tempe Arizona out of the airline!

  15. @Koggerk Your words speak to your ignorance of the flight attendant’s job. Have you flown in the past decade? GEE..Unbelievable !!! But , then again not as you actually sounded like you knew what you were talking about …NOT…..

  16. It’s unbelievable that Bob Ross would echo a piece of Truth from his being . There is no choice between Sara Nelson and Bob Ross . I am retired now but before I left it was a ship of mean Flight Attendants . Does not matter if your old or young your treated with no feelings

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