CHARLOTTE Local Charlotte News — Piedmont Airlines flight attendants are gearing up to cast their vote on whether or not the workgroup should go on strike. The American Airlines wholly-owned subsidiary flies on American Eagle regional flights to smaller cities along the east coast. Just over 300 flight attendants are expected to vote.
Rampant passenger misconduct plagues the skies with only flight attendants to defuse and control situations. Crew members at Piedmont, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants are asking to be paid a livable wage.
Keturah Johnson, Piedmont MEC President says the situation is dire in both crew bases.
“Flight attendants cannot afford to work at Piedmont. So much so that we’ve created a food bank within our union in Philadelphia and Charlotte to make sure flight attendants are taken care of.”
Johnson says wages and protections are the number one concern for the membership. She says many flight attendants are thinking of leaving to take other jobs that are safer and pay more.
“At about 10 different jobs — you could make more take home pay than working at Piedmont Airlines. This is at places like Costco, Target, McDonalds, and your local grocery store.”
Airline strikes were commonplace in the 70’s and 80’s. Most famously carried out by former carriers TWA and Eastern Airlines.
In 1993, American Airlines cabin crew members went on strike. The workgroup returned from the picket line with a ratified contract. Johnson says AFA stands ready to strike if the vote and National Mediation Board authorize the action.
“That’s our plan — to vote, be released, and put pressure on the company so we don’t have to strike. But we’re willing and ready.”
The earliest possible flight disruption can happen is the end of August after a 30 day cooling off period.
The National Mediation Board acts as a third-party arbitrator to make ratifications to contracts and work agreements as governed by the Railway Labor Act. The legislation from 1926 was amended in the 30’s, 60’s, and 80’s to act as guiding principals for arbitration, collective bargaining and mediation when labor and management cannot agree on working rules.
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