American Airlines Flight Attendants Plan Unusual Strike

American Airlines Flight Attendants Plan Unusual Strike

Now that’s a strike!

As far as strikes go, this one may be the most polite concept in history.

Flight attendants at American Airlines are planning a “nondisruptive, simulated strike” at undisclosed cities across the country on November 18. The idea is to keep working, but attach disks to their union pins that read “Got Guts” and “Got Union” to call attention to their negotiations to recover wages they lost in concessions back in 2003.

Any real strike — defined as employees walking off the job, we assume — wouldn’t happen before March 2010 as talks and cooling-off periods take place.

“This is only a symbolic demonstration to show management that flight attendants are willing and able to do whatever is necessary to get a fair contract,”  Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told the press. The point of these simulations? “”We think it’s going to very helpful for us. If we have a job action, it’s good to have a drill, a dress rehearsal.”

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Color me confused, but how does wearing a pin prepare you to not show up for work next quarter? Nor do I grasp how flooding the counters and airline aisles with 18,000 union support pins will strike fear into the hearts of negotiators. They are well aware of how many folks are represented at American Airlines — and it’s doubtful they’re the ones strolling around the airports on November 16. Since it’s the week before Thanksgiving, when families start searching en mass for a place to stuff their luggage in the overhead bins, the flight attendants are likely reaching an audience of Wednesday morning business travelers who rarely pay attention to anything beyond their iPhone screens. And a good portion of them aren’t necessarily sympathetic to union causes in principle.

Another common strike

Your comments and insight are definitely appreciated here, because in terms of strikes, this is an action the public could appreciate far more than hearing their flight was just canceled at the gate.

Photography: Betsy Schiffman, Jule BerlinSchiffman, Jule Berlin