American Airlines flight attendants attempted to doorstep the carrier’s chief executive Robert Isom on Thursday in order to deliver a letter of no confidence in AA’s head of inflight services after he refused to temporarily move crew members from a Philadelphia hotel where a coworker recently died in suspicious circumstances.
Wearing bright red t-shirts emblazoned with the name of their union, a group of crew members from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) managed to gain access to AA’s corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas and went on the hunt for Isom.
When the group, which included APFA national president Julie Hedrick, were prevented from meeting with Isom, they instead turned their attention to Brady Byrnes, AA’s Senior Vice President of Inflight and Premium Guest Services.
After creating a minor security alert as they marched through AA’s swanky new HQ, Hedrick and other APFA representatives managed to deliver the letter of no confidence to Byrnes himself.
The union listed a slew of reasons why they no longer have confidence in Byrnes, including his alleged “dismissive attitude” to concerns raised by flight attendants who feel uncomfortable staying at the Marriott Hotel at Philadelphia Airport.
Last month, a veteran 66-year-old flight attendant was found dead in her room at the hotel during a short layover between flights, but it took hotel cleaners several days to realize that anything was wrong and there are questions over what steps AA took to check on the crew member’s welfare.
The police are treating her death as ‘suspicious’.
“When flight attendants communicated genuine fears for their security to American management, Mr Bynes’ response was not one of assurance and action but indifference,” the letter of no confidence alleges.
“The refusal to temporarily relocate crew members who felt unsafe and the further denial of a request for inflight management to assuage the fears of the crews laying over at the Philadelphia Marriott by simply meeting the few inbound crews staying at the property speaks volumes about his lack of leadership,” the letter continued.
The union has also raised a number of other issues with Byrnes’ leadership, saying he has “erased the personal relationship” that flight attendants had with management and that he takes “great pride” in circumventing a family leave program in what to issue flight attendants with disciplinary points.
“The inability of Mr Bynes to work with APFA and address these very real issues is disheartening and indicative of a severe disconnect between him and the realities faced by our flight attendants daily,” the letter continued.
“The largest workforce at American (Airlines) is in dire need of support,” Hedrick and APFA’s various base leaders wrote. “Morale has plummeted to unprecedented depths, and the ongoing inaction by Mr Bynes is nothing short of detrimental to the best interests of American Airlines”.
The letter of no confidence was delivered a day after APFA said it was now demanding a 50% pay raise for its members over the course of a four-year contract. American Airlines has only offered a 14% pay raise over the course of a five-year contract.
Both sides seem to be at loggerheads over the issue of pay, and if an agreement can’t be reached, APFA says it will seek a release from the National Mediation Board to conduct strike action.
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