Oct 22, 2021 - News
Piedmont Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike
A person holds a yellow sign that reads, "Ready to Strike, Contract Now," outside the Philadelphia International Airport.
Unionized flight attendants for American Eagle carrier Piedmont Airlines protest outside Philadelphia International Airport. Photo courtesy of Natalie Sowinski/Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

Flight attendants for an American Airlines subsidiary with a base in Philadelphia voted to authorize a strike Thursday.

Driving the news: Members of the union representing flight attendants for American Eagle carrier Piedmont Airlines picketed outside Philadelphia Airport (PHL) following the vote, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Why it matters: AFA's strike strategy "could affect the entire system or a single flight," the union said in a news release.

  • "Even the disruption of a few flights could threaten operations across the American Airlines Group system," AFA said.

State of play: Contract negotiations with the airline have dragged on for more than three years.

  • Nearly 200 of Piedmont Airlines’ more than 350 flight attendants are based out of PHL.
  • Piedmont flew about 9% of all passengers boarding at PHL between 2019-20, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Reality check: A strike authorization does not mean workers have walked off the job.

  • Rather, it gives union leadership the ability to call a strike, triggering further steps before union members could strike.

What they're saying: "Flight attendants can't afford to work at Piedmont," Keturah Johnson, president of the Philadelphia affiliate of union members, said in a released statement.

  • "We are already paid less than our counterparts at other regional carriers, and far less than mainline flight attendants doing the same work at the American Airlines Group," Johnson said.

The other side: Crystal Byrd, a spokesperson for Piedmont Airlines, told Axios in an email that the carrier was "dedicated to getting a competitive contract negotiated" for its flight attendants.

  • "We are in agreement our team members deserve the best contract, and we are committed to delivering that to them," Byrd said.

What's next: Both sides will return to the bargaining table in November, Byrd said.

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