Frustrated Flight Attendants Set Up “Virtual Picket Line”

American Airlines flight attendants have decided to picket the airline in cyberspace. 

The union that represents the airline's flight attendants has created a Web site that allows employees to add their names to a "virtual picket line," protesting management's current contract proposals.

Negotiations between the Fort Worth-based airline, and the flight attendants union are about to heat up again, with both sides headed back to meetings with a federal mediator on Aug. 31. 

Right now, the main sticking points are pay, vacation time, and management demands that flight attendants work more hours each month than currently allowed.

In July, negotiations appeared to be moving quickly, with tentative agreements reached on more than two-thirds of the contract.  But, the company has not made any pay proposals so far, saying in a statement that the discussion of pay is contingent on "the agreements reached on productivity and work rules." 

The union claims the company is asking flight attendants to increase their maximum working hours by as much as 18 hours a month, reduce vacation time, and increase contributions towards health care benefits -- all without being told what they will be paid.

In a newsletter sent to members, the union president , Laura Glading, recently called the proposals "insulting." 

"They have shown their true colors and their frank disrespect for our members," Glading said. 

Management said it hopes to make progress on the remaining issues when the two sides meet later this month.

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