American Airlines

American boosts flight attendant raises in new contract


American Airlines flight attendants will get higher pay raises than what an arbitration panel awarded as management agreed Thursday to put the increases back into the contract.

The agreement was reached after leaders of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants met with American CEO Doug Parker and President Scott Kirby on Thursday.

According to statements from the company and the union, American will provide wage increases that were part of a five-year contract agreement that members rejected in November by just 16 votes out of 16,000 cast. The dispute then went to the arbitration panel, which had to limit the contract’s value to a lower amount that was previously agreed on.

American said the new pay rates are 6.5 percent higher than those in the arbitration agreement. The union said the increased wages, including a top hourly increase from $50.17 to $53.52, add about $81 million to the deal’s value.

“The new pay rates provide our flight attendants the highest hourly rates among our network peers, and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015,” the airline said in a statement. “With this action behind us, we can look forward to the year ahead and beyond as one team, and with great momentum as we continue our integration plans.”

In its statement, the union called the agreement “the beginning of a new chapter.”

“Bringing together two large workgroups with very different cultures and contracts is an enormous task but together we have done exactly that in just over one year,” the union said. “We now turn our attention to implementing our Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement and enforcing the hard-fought provisions it contains.”

During arbitration, the union had also requested “me-too” clauses on profit-sharing and healthcare in case other unions at American received those benefits during contract talks. It also wanted the effective date of the raises to be Dec. 2. The arbitration panel denied all those requests.

With the reinstated raises, the contract is worth $193 million more a year than the contracts now in place for flight attendants at both American and US Airways.

The joint collective bargaining contract takes effect in January and will cover 24,000 flight attendants at both airlines, which merged last year.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk