American Airlines pilots are in a tough spot. They’ve been negotiating a new union contract for years, and things haven’t exactly been going swimmingly. Now, pilots are taking things one step further: Voting to authorize a full-blown strike against the airline.
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The Allied Pilots Association, the union to which American Airlines pilots belong, opened voting on a possible strike back in April. After one month of collecting votes, the unit managed a staggering 96 percent participation — nearly all of the 15,000 pilots represented. Of those who voted, 99 percent supported authorizing a strike.
Pilots picketed American’s major hub airports yesterday, hoping to show management that they’re serious about a work stoppage. Of course, a more serious labor effort would take more time, and require more steps — pilots are bound by similar rules to railway workers, who have extra requirements that must be met before a strike can legally go forward.
The similarities to railway workers, legally, do cause some concern. Last year, Congress and the “pro-union” Biden administration forced a deal onto railway workers, leaving them understaffed and without sick days simply to ensure every consumer got their little treats for the holiday season. While the administration hasn’t yet commented on the potential for an American Airlines strike, it’s already set a concerning precedent.
With any luck, the mere threat of a strike will be enough to ensure American Airlines pilots get a fair contract from their management. If not, your summer vacation might just get a bit more complicated to plan.