Flight attendants at American Airlines' regional carrier PSA approved a new contract with pay raises, more guaranteed hours and a signing bonus worth up to $1,800.
It could be the first of four new deals American Airlines needs to sign with flight attendants across its carriers in the coming months -- including ongoing contract negotiations with 25,000 union members at the mainline carrier based in Fort Worth.
"Pay is always the biggest issue, especially when you have flight attendants that are working for the same company making different amounts," said Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA that covers the PSA workers.
The two groups started negotiating a deal in 2017, Garland said.
PSA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines and flies in aircraft marked American Eagle. The company is based out of Dayton, Ohio and mostly carries passengers on short-haul flights between smaller cities.
The PSA contract covers about 1,300 flight attendants and gives pay raises of 6% to 19%, two extra holidays a year, a monthly guarantee of 75 working hours, and other benefits.
Starting flight attendants at PSA will now average about $24,225 a year and senior workers will make on average about $41,820. It also adds language to the contract that stops flight attendants from having to clean cabins in between flights.
The contract was approved by 77 percent of union members in a vote finalized Monday.
"This mutually-beneficial agreement is an important step in our future, allowing PSA to remain competitive and stable within the industry, while also rewarding our professional Flight Attendants with a well-deserved new contract for the important work they do on behalf of our airline," said a message sent to PSA employees by president Dion Flannery.
American Airlines is working with flight attendants on a new deal at the mainline carrier. Flight attendants at Piedmont Airlines, another American subsidiary, are in negotiations and the contract is up next year with union workers at Envoy, the largest of the company's regional carriers.
AFA also represents flight attendants at Envoy and Piedmont, as well as other airlines.
"All the bargaining has an effect on each other," Garland said. "What we try to do at AFA is to raise the standards for the next contract."
While flight attendants at PSA, Envoy and Piedmont all work for American Airlines, the work and pay are often much different than those at the flagship carrier. Garland said on average, regional carrier flight attendants are paid about 45 percent less than counterparts at mainline airlines. They also fly more stops per day and often to smaller destinations.
American Airlines flight attendants are looking for a new deal that among other things gives flight attendants more rest between shifts, improvements to a sick leave policy they have called sexist and fixes to a reserve program they say puts too many workers on call.
©2019 The Dallas Morning News
Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.