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American Airlines flight attendants set up informational pickets at U.S. airports and demanded the right to strike from the federal government, saying they are the only employees of the Dallas-based airline that have gone five years without a pay increase.

That doesn’t mean a strike by American Airlines flight attendants is imminent, but one could be on the horizon if they don’t get a long-sought-after contract agreement with the airline worked out.

Yesterday, two-hour picket lines went up at Boston Logan International Airport, Charlotte/ Douglas International Airport, Chicago/ O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and eight other major U.S. airports.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents American Airlines flight attendants, also organized pickets at American Airlines headquarters and in front of the White House, where they called on

American Airlines Might See Federal Intervention

President Joe Biden is looking to restore the workers’ right to strike under the Railway Labor Act.

Under the 1862 law, which governs some airline employees, flight attendants are legally barred from striking until the National Mediation Board releases them from an ongoing mediation process. So far, the board has refused to do so.

APFA noted that while American Airlines flight attendants haven’t received a raise since 2019, CEO Robert Isom received a $31.4 million pay package in 2023. “Robert Isom’s compensation package is now 1,162 times that of a new-hire flight attendant, corporate greed at its finest,” the union said in a press statement.

If the National Mediation Board releases the union from mediation, it would trigger a 30-day “cooling off” period during which Congress or the Biden administration could intervene in the dispute. The law stipulates that workers have the right to strike if nothing is resolved after 30 days.

APFA also is calling on members of Congress to pressure the National Mediation Board to allow flight attendants to strike.

“Attendants are long overdue for a contract recognizing their sacrifices, addressing the current economic environment, and retroactively compensating them for management delays in negotiations,” according to APFA. “Airline management stalls and offers inferior proposals that devalue our profession while rewarding themselves with incentives and bonuses.”

In 2023, more than 99 percent of APFA members voted to authorize a strike. The union has twice previously asked for a release from federal mediation, but the board has rebuffed both requests.