What is it with OneWorld and strikes? First BA, now AA?
American Airlines flight attendants authorized their union leaders today to call a strike against the second-largest U.S. carrier if they are freed from further negotiations.
About 97 percent of those voting cast ballots to support a walkout, Association of Professional Flight Attendants President Laura Glading told members in a recorded message. Discussions are proceeding today between Fort Worth, Texas-based American and the group, which represents 16,550 of its active attendants.
I think they’re bluffing and I also don’t have too much sympathy for the FAs, especially after reading this:
“American has the highest labor costs of the legacy carriers,” Jim Corridore, a Standard & Poor’s equity analyst in New York, said in an interview. “I don’t see circumstances under which the company can provide a pay raise. There has to be some sort of productivity offset to any kind of pay increase.”
Ironically, that’s what happens to an airline that manages to be careful enough to avoid bankruptcy.
American has an annual labor “cost disadvantage” of $600 million, which is the difference between its labor expenses and what those costs would be under the contracts of competitors, Chief Executive Officer Gerard Armey told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting today in New York.
Other airlines, including United and Delta, lowered their labor costs during bankruptcy reorganizations.
American is trying to balance the interests of employees with its need to be competitive on a cost basis, Armey said.
Arpey, not Armey. But he’s right and I wish him success.