Mark your calendars. United flight attendants are planning a systemwide “day of action” on December 13th.
I’ve written quite a bit recently about the labor situation at United Airlines between flight attendants and management.
- United Airlines May Add “Satellite Bases” For FAs In Three Cities
- Is United Airlines Cheating Flight Attendants With “Long Sit” Policy?
- United Airlines Flight Attendants Protest Staffing Cuts, Warn Of Poor Service Onboard
The most contentious issue is the plan to reduce business class staffing by one FA on select international flights. That is the epicenter of the protest, as the AFA has argued:
Pre-plated food is no substitute for another flight attendant in the aisles.
But the day of protest will also address the “long sit” issue.
In hopes of reversing the staffing cuts and overnight layover policies, FAs will stage picket line protests at United’s hubs in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Newark.
In a more symbolic move, those white AFA pins currently worn by FAs will turn red.
The United Master Executive Council acted unanimously to turn our AFA pin red and to take our fight public because these management decisions affect not only us, but the traveling public as well.
That last sentence captures precisely why this issue is newsworthy. While passengers may not be thrown into the middle of this debate, they will certainly be made aware of it.
Pre-plating food and cutting staffing is not what an airline does if it wants to be the best in the world, at least from a service prospective. The fundamental problem, it seems to me, is that FAs feel their trust has been violated…once again. After a multi-year negotiation to seek a new unified FA agreement, many now feel that United is taking advantage of a small cause to do what it promised it would not. While United may have the contractual right to cut staffing, I hope this staffing cut will not end up costing the company more than it saves them.
image: United AFA