American Airlines Flight Attendants Join Occupy SF Today

Categories: Occupy
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Today, the flight attendants would be serving coach first.
With protesters feared eviction from the Occupy SF encampment this morning, a group of well-coiffed adults in sharp uniforms converged at Justin Herman Plaza. 

Like the Sesame Street jingle, these protesters were not like the others: They were clean-cut. They were exceedingly courteous. They smiled a lot.  

They were American Airlines flight attendants.

Holding signs that read "Airline workers: Part of the 99 percent," four members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants union turned out to mark the 18th anniversary of the five-day 1993 American Airlines labor strike, which successfully got the workers better pay and benefits. President Bill Clinton himself had stepped in to broker the agreement. Now the union is again locked in three years of contract negotiations with the company -- and the workers are not happy. 

So they headed out today to join the Occupy protests nationwide, and gave the beleaguered SF camp an image-boost in the process. Another Occupy protester passed by and called, "Bravo!"

The group said they had major concessions in 2003 in what the company's top dogs called a "pull together, win together" strategy to stave off bankruptcy after the airline industry took a nosedive post-9/11. But now, the flight attendants say they haven't gotten raises since 2008, and only 1 percent raises for the three years before that -- all while the top CEOs of the company take home millions of dollars in bonuses, they say. 

"They don't deserve to make millions while we lose our houses. A lot [of flight attendants] have lost their houses and marriages," said Julie Hendrick, the union's vice-chair. 

"Talk about a slap in the face," added union chair Larry Salas, who looked ready for an airline commercial in his gelled hair and wrap-around shades. 

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These protesters were not like the others.
"We're happy we have jobs but tired of the inequities at the top. If we're not making money, don't take the money [in bonuses]," says Brian Berger. He, along with the others, were especially disgusted the company's bigwigs were getting bonuses while customers, paying extra for baggage and food, were crammed into tiny seats on full flights.

"American Airlines used to be a premier carrier," Berger said. "I used to be so proud of this company. Now it's an embarrassment ...people [on the flights] are miserable -- they're in their little spaces."

"We say, 'we're sorry, we're sorry, we don't have this, we don't have that,'" added Heidi Cain.

The flight attendants said today's union action was being replicated at Occupy protests across the country. Several reporters dispatched to the Occupy site this morning awaiting a possible eviction migrated over to snap photos and interview the unlikely new arrivals. Berger said, "We should have brought a beverage cart!"

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Glenn Foster
Glenn Foster

IF INDUSTRY LEADERS STARTED TREATING THEIR EMPLOYEES WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT AND MANAGED THEIR DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS WITH SOME DEGREE OF INTEGRITY THERE WOULD NOT BE MASS PROTESTS ACROSS THE NATION, IT IS SO OBVIOUS THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN, THE 99%, ARE FRUSTRATED, ANGRY, AND BEING ABUSED.  BRAVO TO THOSE WITH THE COURAGE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT INSTEAD OF SITTING AT HOME AND COMPLAINING BUT NOEVER GETTING UP OFF THE COUCH AND DOING ANYTHING!

Glenn Foster
Glenn Foster

SOUNDS TO ME THAT YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT THESE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS MAKE. NOT ONE OF THEM IS EVEN CLOSE TO BEING IN THE 1%. IN 2001, AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11 TRAGEDIES, THE AA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ACCEPTED A 33% PAY CUT AND OTHER CONCESSIONS IN THE SPIRIT OF COOPERATION AND ASSITING THEIR COMPANY TO SUCEED. SINCE THEN THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN ONE PENNY BACK, MEANWHILE CORPORATE EXCE'S CONTINUE TO TAKE HOME MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BONUSES. ADDITIONALLY FLIGHT ATTENDANTS HAVE BEEN WITHOUT A LABOR CONTRACT FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS. EVERYDAY THE COMPANY DOESN'T SIGN THE CONTRACT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS LOSE AND THE CORPORATE FAT CATS LINE THEIR POCKETS. WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MEDIATOR WILL NOT RELEASE THEM TO STRIKE, ARE WE EVEN A DEMOCRACY ANYMORE?

Glenn Foster
Glenn Foster

SOUND TO ME THAT YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT THESE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS MAKE.  IN 2001 THE AA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ACCEPTED A 33% PAY CUT AND OTHER CONCESSIONS IN THE SPIRIT OF COOPERATION AND ASSITING THEIR COMPANY TO SUCEED.  SINCE THEN THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN ONE PENNY BACK, MEANWHILE CORPORATE EXCE'S CONTINUE TO TAKE HOME MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BONUSES.  ADDITIONALLY FLIGHT ATTENDANTS HAVE BEEN WITHOUT A LABOR CONTRACT FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS.  EVERYDAY THE COMPANY DOESN'T SIGN THE CONTRACT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS LOSE AND THE CORPORATE FAT CATS LINE THEIR POCKETS.  WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MEDIATOR WILL NOT RELEASE THEM TO STRIKE, ARE WE EVEN A DEMOCRACY ANYMORE?

Glenn Foster
Glenn Foster

SOUNDS TO ME THAT YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT THESE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS MAKE.  NOT ONE OF THEM IS EVEN CLOSE TO BEING IN THE 1%.  IN 2001, AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11 TRAGEDIES,  THE AA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ACCEPTED A 33% PAY CUT AND OTHER CONCESSIONS IN THE SPIRIT OF COOPERATION AND ASSITING THEIR COMPANY TO SUCEED.  SINCE THEN THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN ONE PENNY BACK, MEANWHILE CORPORATE EXCE'S CONTINUE TO TAKE HOME MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BONUSES.  ADDITIONALLY FLIGHT ATTENDANTS HAVE BEEN WITHOUT A LABOR CONTRACT FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS.  EVERYDAY THE COMPANY DOESN'T SIGN THE CONTRACT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS LOSE AND THE CORPORATE FAT CATS LINE THEIR POCKETS.  WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MEDIATOR WILL NOT RELEASE THEM TO STRIKE, ARE WE EVEN A DEMOCRACY ANYMORE?

Another CA citizen
Another CA citizen

No employee working for American Airlines is in the top 1%.  Wake up people....it's an airline.  Airlines either do not make money or if they do, it's very little.  The problem is much bigger than your own back yard.  Try to focus on the real problem and not your small world.  Every airline employee, including management ought to join in the occupy movement.  Big oil companies and Wall Street have managed to drive the industry into the ground.

Jason
Jason

As an AA FA, thank you for representing me. You spoke volumes.

Airline Radiation Dosimeters
Airline Radiation Dosimeters

P.S. those are raises of his SALARY, not just the "perfomance plan bonuses". the Bonus plan is arranged so that the executhieves get 100% payout  if they completely fail, and up to 400% for top achievement. no lose  bonus plan.. Corporate greed at it's best.

pixie
pixie

...and by the way, Susan, there are many flight attendants on furlough right now...including at American Airlines. American Airlines is oce again threatening to furlough more flight attendants. There are a group of flight attendants that have been furloughed & recalled 3 or 4 times.

Kriss2ski
Kriss2ski

And what, exactly are your qualifications for criticism, Susan? American Airlines Management is THE 1 %. They consistently take millions in bonus while taking millions in baggage fees, while loosing gazillions for the airline. And you wonder why the employees are bitter?

Kriss2ski
Kriss2ski

Thanks Larry, Brian, Heidi and Julie! You REPRESENT!

Pete from ILLINOIS
Pete from ILLINOIS

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!  I agree with the CA Citizen's comment  100%.  If you treat your employees right--they will go that extra mile in doing their job. A few years back a CA company gave their employees bonuses and it was distributed EQUALLY from the CEO's to the janitor.  Their is TOO much corporate greed in every company. Example, look at EXXON making billions of dollars in quarterly profits.  It's time for the Amerian people to stand up.  I applaud these flight attendants for standing up for their rights and not just sitting back and complaining about things.  We could all learn a lot from them!  Pete from ILLINOIS

susan
susan

what a bunch of hooey..the flight attendants have been using that same "poor me" flight attendants have lost their homes and their marriages stuff since 2003..believe me,they may have taken a pay cut and benefit cuts, but now they are turning their union issue into something not applicable to the "occupy" protest..these people have jobs and i know how much they make..i am sure american airlines would be very unhappy with them attending in the company uniform..if they want to join in, fine, but do it as a representative of yourself, not your union or your company ......... 

wrdv52
wrdv52

There is always one person who makes comments based on pure  ignorance. This time was you Susan. I'm just happy that a lot more people nowadays are better informed.

Sherigoggans
Sherigoggans

Well Susan, what is you job?? How would you like your pay to be reduced by 30%, lose a third of yor vacation after being a loyal, hardworking employee for 20 + years  and rescue your company by these cuts... AND then your boss turns around and takes MILLIONS in bonuses while you work longer and harder??  The insult to injury is that the pubic is also being taken by getting less service and  higher fees . The flight attendants ARE representing themselves and millions of employee who are the results of corporate greed. And I ask you , when is the last time you worked a 18 hour day, no food, dealing with an angry public??

Airline Radiation Dosimeters
Airline Radiation Dosimeters

Let me add to What BOB said: The CEO took a 3% paycut in 2004 (shared sacrifice). while  all three labor unions on the property were given 1.5% raises thru 2008, the CEO TOOK raises of 23% in 2006, 26% in 2007, 18% in 2008,(no information for 2009-/2010), and just received an11% raise in 2011. his minions got lesser raises on 10-12% each year.  Labor lost to feed the greed of the top 1% ..the executhieves of AAL. in Fact it's the top 20%, since AAL has one manager for every 5  labor. lots of waste and inefficiency in management.

Rhammack54
Rhammack54

In regards to the CEO:Received a 17% pay raise in 2002 so that when executives at American Airlines received a large pay cut in 2003 (in Arpey's case, 14%), he would instead see the effect of a net salary increase.

Bob
Bob

Susan  did you know

Flight attendants took a 23% pay cuteLost 1 week of vacationWork days extended to 14 hours up to 16 hoursRest time reduced to 8 hours behind  a door1% pay raise for 6 years 

all while AMR MAGNT has taken a bonus ever year for the past 10 years

Scurvybr
Scurvybr

Geez Susan sounds like a mangemant lakey to me, so are you Susan?

CA citizen
CA citizen

All due respect Susan, it is not a "bunch of hooey". These flight attendants are part of the 99% and are protesting corporate greed. Something they know firsthand from their company. I disagree with your statement "They may have taken a pay cut". The fact is they gave up 30% of pay and benefits to keep their company from BK while the top executives have done nothing but give themselves ridiculous bonuses. They are the victims of corporate greed and have every right to be there in uniform.

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