Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of CWA District 3 and Chair of the CWA Airlines Council, issued the following statement in response to today's American Airlines earnings report.
“While American Airlines beat earnings estimates and posted $1.9 billion profits in 2017, the company insists on paying thousands of its passenger service agents poverty wages as low as $8.45 an hour. Whether guiding planes safely on the tarmac or staying late during inclement weather to ensure passengers reach their destinations, these hardworking professionals are on the frontlines every day providing the services critical to safe, comfortable travel.
"With profits strong and benefits already flowing in from the corporate tax giveaways that CEO Doug Parker campaigned for, it’s shameful that many of his own workers need to use food stamps and other types of public assistance just to eat. Parker says that the people who work at American are the foundation of the airline's success. It's time for American to stop short-changing its workforce and taxpayers and start paying passenger service agents sustainable, family-supporting wages.”
American Airlines pays a living wage to passenger service employees who work under the American name. However, workers at its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines—who wear the same uniform and do the same work as those at American, but serve flights operated by Envoy and Piedmont—earn poverty wages, with few possibilities for increases.
These passenger service professionals provide a wide range of services essential to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for customers, such as managing pre-flight checks, de-escalating tense situations and helping passengers re-book their flights during inclement weather.
Recently, American Airlines announced a one-time bonus for employees after the passage of the tax bill, but they haven't budged on the real issue—permanent, sustainable wages for its front-line workforce.
Proud of their contribution to customer safety and American's business success, passenger service agents at Envoy and Piedmont stand determined to negotiate fair contracts that include family-supporting wages.
CWA represents 4,600 Piedmont agents nationwide, 3,800 agents at Envoy, and 14,000 passenger service agents at American Airlines.