Flight attendants hold mock strike

November 18, 2009 5:18:53 PM PST
American Airlines flight attendants, concerned about stalled contract negotiations, are going public with their gripes.The group is launching mock strikes across the country, and Wednesday it landed at RDU. No flights were interrupted.

Some of the same flight attendants who took part Wednesday were involved in a real strike in 1993, now they are once again in contract negotiations.

"We now have to show management that we are serious about getting a fair contract. So what we're doing is having simulated strike flights today," explained Flight Attendant Peggy Turley.

Attendants were handing out cards explaining to travelers that if crew members on their flight are wearing red buttons, then it means those crew members would be absent during a real strike.

But a real strike can only come with the permission of a government mediation agency. When they had that permission to strike in 1993, attendants say it was a success. But since then, union attendants say they have given a lot of what they gained 16 years ago back in concessions made to American during the nationwide downturn in air travel.

Air traveler Chris Connell of Clayton was greeted by two attendants as he walked into terminal two.

"They work very hard for what they do, yeah. I think they are - they probably have legitimate concerns about what their contracts are and their needs are," he said.

American Airlines doesn't appear happy with its flight attendants actions - which may be ramping up the tension of negotiations which American says are going well.

The airline released a statement that says, in part, "Our operations are running smoothly, and our customers have not been impacted by today's demonstrations. Our flight attendants already receive near industry-leading pay and benefits. The industry - and every airline in it - has changed significantly in the past several years, and we must recognize the competitive and business realities of the industry today."

Whether they support the flight attendants or not, all the flyers ABC11 spoke with Wednesday say they hope it does not come to a strike early next year.

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