AA, Flight Attendants Again Talk Contract

Strike threat quiets amid hope of deal

By Scott Gordon
|  Monday, Jan 3, 2011  |  Updated 11:59 PM CDT
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AA, Flight Attendants Again Talk Contract

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Amid hopes of a deal after two years of contract negotiations, American Airlines and its 18,000 flight attendants head back to the bargaining table Tuesday in Nashville.

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Amid hopes of a deal after two years of contract negotiations, American Airlines and its 18,000 flight attendants head back to the bargaining table Tuesday in Nashville.

The session is scheduled for three days and will be overseen by a new federal mediator.

"I always try to go into this with an open mind," said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

But Glading cautioned that she saw no signs the airline was willing to give more than it has previously offered, even though the company has paid millions of dollars in management bonuses.

"They always seem to have the money to spend on (other) things they want," she said.

The last negotiations in Washington in May ended in an impasse after flight attendants voted overwhelming to allow union leaders to call a strike.

Federal mediators have not released the union from talks, a necessary step before a strike could occur.

American Airlines declined to comment on the new round of talks.

But in a notice dated Jan. 3 posted on the company's web page, Cathy Scheu, managing director of flight services, said she was excited to continue negotiations.

"We are committed to providing competitive pay and benefits to you and all of our employees," she wrote. "I am looking forward to building on the progress made in the previous negotiations sessions."

The last offer the union rejected included a 3 percent bonus for signing the contract in addition to pay raises that amount to 9.9 percent over five years. Both sides seemed far apart on health care and other benefits.

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