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American Airlines offers flight attendants immediate 17% wage hikes amid contract talks

American Airlines offered flight attendants an immediate pay raise of 17% as the carrier looks to conclude negotiations with the flight attendants union over a new contract.

American Airlines announced Wednesday it's offering flight attendants an immediate wage hike of 17% along with a new profit-sharing formula as negotiations for new labor contracts continue.

CEO Robert Isom said in a message to the company's flight attendants that while progress has been made in contract negotiations, there is "still a good deal of work to be done."

The current negotiations began in January 2020 but were paused during the height of the pandemic before talks resumed in June 2021. 

"We are committed to reaching a new agreement, and now is the time to make a deal," Isom added.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, FLIGHT ATTENDANTS' UNION REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

Over 23,000 American Airlines flight attendants are represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). The union has asked workers to prepare for a strike after negotiations last month failed to yield an agreement.

American's flight attendants say they haven't had a pay raise in over five years and have asked for an immediate raise of about 33%. Union officials say flight attendants have endured a lot since the pandemic, notably unruly passengers resisting the controversial mask mandate on planes. 

American Airlines and the union are expected to resume negotiations next week. APFA has requested that it be released from federally-mediated negotiations, arguing that American's offers "continue to fall far short of addressing the current economic environment."

"It is way past time for management to acknowledge our contributions to the airline, address the new industry standard and compensate us fairly," said Julie Hedrick, head of American's flight attendants union. "We are neither backing down nor settling for less than we've earned."

THOUSANDS OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS TO HOLD NATIONWIDE PICKETS AMID CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

Flight attendants at several other airlines, including United Airlines, Alaska and Frontier, are also negotiating new labor contracts.

Southwest Airlines flight attendants in April ratified a new labor contract that was negotiated by the Transportation Workers Union of America. It included an average pay increase of 22.3%, with 3% raises in 2025, 2026 and 2027. The sides reached a tentative agreement in late March.

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It also revised the company's reserve system by bringing an end to the airline's 24-hour on-call system to give flight attendants more rest

Further, the Southwest contract included additional compensation for extra time spent on the ground while on duty, higher pay for irregular operations, plus premium pay for an extended duty day.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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