AA Flight Attendants Returning to Work Early

Union continues to renegotiate labor contract

American Airlines says hundreds of flight attendants will be back at work next month.

In February, 500 flight attendants took a voluntary, one-year leave of absence because the airline said they had too many on staff.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants criticized the airline for recalling flight attendants who took a voluntary leave of absence instead of the 216 people who remain on furlough.

"We wanted those people called back to work," said Laura Glading, APFA president.

"People who want to work -- call them back -- and people who wanted leaves and who have accepted leaves -- let them continue their leave," she said.

The airline said it needs the employees to staff flights this fall.

The union said the decision is frustrating to flight attendants and another example of mismanagement.

"It's really poor planning on the part of the company with regard to the coverage they needed from summer," Glading said.

The flight attendants will be phased back in beginning Aug. 14.

The APFA continues to negotiate its labor contract with the airline. The union said Wednesday that it is confident the court would delay American Airlines' Section 1113 motion, scheduled for Aug. 15, until after the Aug. 19 voting period.

Meanwhile, after months of insisting that the airline would emerge from bankruptcy a stand-alone airline, American Airlines CEO Tom Horton seems to be doing an about-face.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he said he approached US Airways' CEO about a merger nearly a year ago -- not the other way around.

Glading said no one knew about the conversation.

"The only people who seemed to think a standalone was a good idea were the executives at American," Glading said.

"Now, they're saying they do think the merger is a good idea, and they're interested," she said. "The distinction being, they want to be heading up that merger."

Horton also told the AP that US Airways needed American Airlines more than American needs US Airways.

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