The combined American Airlines flight attendant contract has been rejected by unions representing the American Airlines and US Airways groups. The vote was incredibly close; the margin was only 16 votes. More than 78% of eligible voters cast a vote with 8,180 in favor of the agreement and 8,196 voting against the deal. The three parties – both unions and the airline – will now pursue binding arbitration starting on 3 December 2014.
APFA statement on the American Airlines flight attendant contract:
As per the Negotiations Protocol Agreement, the outstanding issues (those issues reached in the final days of bargaining) shall be submitted for binding arbitration. Our first date for arbitration is Wednesday, December 3rd. Until the arbitration is completed and the new contract is awarded, each legacy workgroup will continue to work under its current contract: the LAA Conditional Labor Agreement and the LUS ‘Red Book.’
The “no” votes came primarily from the legacy AA side of the operation while the majority of the US group was in favor of the deal. The smaller US group was unable to overcome the larger AA side, however. For US Airways it was the Phoenix group which was most strongly in favor (65.4%). The Philadelphia station was slightly in favor while the Charlotte and Washington, DC bases were opposed to the deal.
On the American side of the vote Miami and New York were strongly opposed while Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas were in favor of the deal. But even with the largest base – Dallas – voting in favor the unions did not manage to approve the contract. AA’s members also seemed divided in their vote based on international versus domestic crews. Of the six international bases Miami was strongly opposed while most of the others were in favor of the deal. The full numbers are available from the Dallas Morning News.
American Airlines statement on the vote outcome
We are, of course, disappointed with today’s outcome. This tentative agreement included industry-leading pay and benefits, and would have provided considerably more economic value and much better work rules than the contract that will be determined by arbitration. And the JCBA determined by arbitration will be imposed without ratification—meaning flight attendants won’t have any say in the process. Next steps are to meet with the APFA to prepare for that arbitration process, which is scheduled to begin next month.
The next step – binding arbitration – guarantees that the total value increase of the new contract will be $111mm compared to the union’s claim of $193mm in the deal rejected this weekend. The $111mm number comes from the projected value of the Delta, United and Continental contracts which American has committed to raising its offer to match. Details on exactly which bits differ in value were not immediately available.
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