American Eagle Flight Attendants Question Merger Benefits
Concerns over Outsourcing and Competitive Disadvantage for Workers
Dallas, TX – American Eagle Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), are increasingly concerned about their future in the American/US Airways merger. Executives promise growth, but a steady stream of outsourcing appears to be the plan for their work. The 1,800 American Eagle Flight Attendants are seriously questioning the benefits of a merger where wholly owned carriers of the proposed new airline are already being pitted against each other.
“More and more regional carriers are operating the same point-to-point service as mainline jets, selling tickets to passengers as part of the mainline network. Yet workers at the regionals are expected to accept second- and third-rate pay and benefits because management creates artificial competition on labor costs,” stated Robert Barrow, AFA President at American Eagle. “The fact is that American Eagle Flight Attendants contributed to a profitable subsidiary of American Airlines prior to the bankruptcy, but we were expected to cut costs to cover the failed strategies of management at American. To date, American Eagle Flight Attendants have not been shown how our contributions will be valued at the new airline. This merger may not be good for all workers.”
As part of the bankruptcy process, American Eagle Flight Attendants ratified substantial concessions in July 2012 with the promise that doing so would retain as much of American’s regional flying as possible and position American Eagle for future growth. Since that time, the new American merger partners are calling many of the shots in how the merger, if consummated, will play out. All the while, American Eagle’s regional flying erodes steadily through outsourcing:
· November 15, 2012 – AMR closes its American Eagle base in Los Angeles and outsources the existing flying to non-owned, SkyWest Airlines.
· January 2013 – AMR announces it will begin outsourcing American Airlines regional flying to a non-AMR-owned carrier, Republic Airlines. The outsourced flying means that Republic will be flying 47 Embraer 175s which represents a significant portion of American Eagle’s current route structure in its Chicago hub.
· February 2013 – AMR announces plans to outsource some of the flying in its DFW hub to Express Jet, a non-owned carrier. Express Jet brought in 12 aircraft to fly routes previously flown by American Eagle.
· March 31, 2013 – AMR closes its American Eagle hub in San Juan, Puerto Rico and later enters into a code share agreement with Seaborne Airlines to provide regional feed.
· June 2013 – US Airways approaches ALPA at American Eagle for more pilot concessions to fly new EMB 175 aircraft, while not even a year earlier pilots and other workers agreed to concessions with the promise that new flying would come with it.
· July 2013 – The pilots represented by ALPA at American Eagle reject the additional concessions pushed by US Airways management, and management turned to PSA pilots for an agreement to fly this new aircraft.
· August 13, 2013 Department of Justice anti-trust lawsuit filed.
“American Eagle Flight Attendants deserve to know what their role will be in the new combined carrier. Actions by management to date, quite frankly lend legitimacy to the Flight Attendants’ concerns. AFA leaders encourage US Airways management to present coherent plans that assure us contributions of American Eagle Flight Attendants will be valued through good jobs at the new American,” concluded Barrow.
The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for over 65 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 airlines, including 1800 at American Eagle, come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afaeagle.org.