AA Employees: Listen Now or Expect the Real Deal

By Monica Dean
|  Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009  |  Updated 7:23 PM PDT
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AA Employees: Listen Now or Expect the Real Deal

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An American Airlines employee scans baggage.

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AA Employees: Listen Now or Expect the Real Deal

Flight attendants with American Airlines picketed at Lindbergh Field and across the nation Wednesday
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Flight attendants with American Airlines picketed at Lindbergh Field and across the nation Wednesday. They're upset over unresolved contract negotiations so they're holding what they call a "simulated strike."

Attendants picketed outside Lindbergh's terminal two starting at 5:30 a.m., saying they wanted to send a message about the serious impact a real strike could have on air travel. 

"If this was a real strike they (passengers) probably wouldn't be getting to their destination today," flight attendant Tim O'Connell said.

Attendants say a strike is a real possibility if contract negotiations aren't settled. Union reps say after 18 months and almost 100 bargaining sessions no deal has been reached.

O'Connell called it a situation of corporate greed. 

"You know American's not willing to share with their employees. They want us to work like dogs, live like dogs while they rake in the millions at the top," he said.

On American Airlines flights across the country, flight attendants are handing out flyers explaining the significance of so-called "Red Flights."  On designated "Red Flights" attendants are wearing red disks under their union pin as part of the simulation, signifying the flight would not be operating if those attendants were striking

Missy Latham, spokesperson for American Airlines, said in a statement that their flight attendants already receive near industry-leading pay and benefits and the company is making steady progress in its negotiations.

"We are committed to continue working with A-P-F-A (the union representing AA fight attendants) to reach a new contract that recognizes flight attendants' service and dedication while positioning our company for long-term success by improving productivity," Latham said.

AA flight attendant Yvonne Barber comes from a family with a long history in the airline industry. 

"We're willing to strike but we'd rather not. We'd rather just have communication with the country and have a fair contract...We love our job and we love the company we just wanted to be paid what we're worth," she said.

The demonstration was not expected to impact air travel.

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