The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents about 26,000 American Airlines flight attendants, submitted a request to the National Mediation Board to be released from federal mediation, the union announced on Monday.
Should the request be granted, it would “start the clock on a 30-day cooling-off period,” after which the flight attendants would be free to strike against American.
In August, 99.5 percent of APFA members voted to authorize a strike, with 93 percent participation, according to the union, adding that flight attendants at American have been working under a contract negotiated in 2014 and have not had a raise since 2019.
In recent months, the union had “made it clear” during negotiation sessions mediated by the NMB that a “ratifiable deal needed to be presented” no later than the week of Nov. 13. “Having passed that deadline without the change flight attendants need to see, APFA today submitted its official request to the NMB for release from mediation,” the union said in a statement.
American refutes APFA’s assertion that negotiations have reached an impasse.
“Since resuming negotiations in 2021, the company has routinely met with APFA and presented proposals that maintain our commitment to paying our team members well and competitively,” American wrote in an email statement. “For months now, we’ve had an industry-leading economic proposal on the table, and we continue to make progress on other items, including as recently as last week. We stand ready to continue working with APFA and with the support of the National Mediation Board to reach an agreement that our flight attendants have earned.”