Flight attendants have faced dangerous and insulting working conditions, including poisoning from toxic uniforms and mass infection of COVID-19, resulting in deaths. Since December 2019, Flight Attendants have kept their jobs but without receiving any pay raise due to the “amendable” old contract by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). Following a vote by 26,000 flight attendants, an overwhelming 99 percent majority authorized a strike, leading to informational pickets at 12 airports in Texas, where American-based airlines operate.
Flight attendants at United Airlines and pilots at Southwest Airlines staged protests at airports on Thursday. Additionally, various other groups of airline employees are advocating for updated agreements.
The American workers were justified in keeping their jobs without a new contract under the pretext of the pandemic hardship, challenging the union bureaucracy to nothing.
The US Congress, by imposing a pro-company contract on railway workers, as it did in the previous year, can potentially lead to a never-ending cycle of government mediation that binds workers and deprives them of their right to strike. This is done by utilizing the undemocratic clauses of the Railway Labor Act, and the APFA bureaucracy will employ a similar justification as it did for flight attendants at Southwest and United.
The airline industry received a multi-billion dollar bailout under the CARES Act, while workers were laid off and government handouts went into the pockets of stockholders and management. The CEO received lucrative pay packages and massive stock buybacks followed the legislation.
The US carrier, American, is currently planning a restructuring as it has paid off a staggering $2.1 billion in debt alone in 2022. Moreover, it holds a massive debt of $30.7 billion, making it the most leveraged carrier.
In 2022, the individual who held the position before him earned a sum of $7.24 million, and when he assumed the role of chairman, his earnings increased to $10.6 million. Despite this fact, CEO Robert Isom managed to accumulate $4.89 million, a figure that is nearly 70 times higher than the median salary of an American Airlines employee, which stands at $71,655. American Airlines has set a goal to decrease its overall debt by $15 billion by the conclusion of 2025.
Following the APFA strike, small rallies were held in various airports around the country, including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Ft. Worth, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, NYC-LaGuardia, National, Washington, Charlotte, and Boston.
The purpose of these demonstrations is to release tension while the union schemes covertly against the employees with the company.
A substantial group of law enforcement officers organized a rally at the D terminal of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which was designated as a restricted area.
The media was forbidden from talking about the union because they couldn’t say anything. The rally was highly controlled by the bureaucracy, with one bureaucrat for every four workers.
The labor union was extremely eager to present its perspective at a media briefing for the business press, whereas the employees were prohibited from expressing their own views.
The management receives the largest share of profits, at 60 percent, while workers receive only 2 percent as their share of the profit. The company essentially exploits labor by not paying them for delays that can last for several hours, and flight attendants from AA do not even receive boarding pay. Despite intimidation, a few ALFA workers spoke to WSWS, explaining their demands for profit sharing and boarding pay to cover the cost of living.
We want to go now and do what we want to do when we have a contract. We are the mighty union, and we want people to know that we are everywhere. The rally consisted of chanting that was reminiscent of a high school pep rally, with the phrase “mighty union” repeated often. Additionally, we expressed our frustration towards corporate greed.
The bureaucrats are trying to impose power and resistance on workers, which goes against the management’s agenda. It is unclear whether these bureaucrats are enemies or friends of the workers. The union officials have not provided any evidence to explain the political nature of the conflict that workers are experiencing. This is what the reporter observed.
Democratic Senate leader Charles “Chuck” Schumer received more than $76,000 from American Airlines, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee being the second largest beneficiary. American Airlines has contributed more than $1.4 million during the 2022 election period, approximately divided equally between Democrats and Republicans, and has spent $4.9 million on lobbying in 2022. In addition to contending with massive corporations, workers are also facing challenges from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
In other air carriers and the global laboring class more extensively, cabin crew members will need to connect with their fellow workers in various divisions of airline employees, and establish grassroots committees separate from these entities, if they are to achieve their requests. The American economic elite and the capitalist government, whose purpose is to ensure the survival of the former, are also intricately connected to the Democratic Party and the labor union leadership, which in turn faces opposition from workers.