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HomeFinanceThe beginning wage for a brand new American Airways flight attendant is...

The beginning wage for a brand new American Airways flight attendant is low sufficient to qualify for meals stamps in some states

An employment verification letter from American Airways is circulating on Reddit and gathering consideration due to how low beginning wages are for some newly employed flight attendants. The letter, which states a brand new American Airways flight attendant can have a projected annual wage of $27,315 earlier than incentives and taxes are collected, has sparked conversations about truthful wages for flight attendants and the way inflationary value hikes are making life unaffordable for a lot of Individuals—even when the financial system and labor markets look good on paper. 

The union that represents American Airways staff, referred to as the Affiliation of Skilled Flight Attendants, verified the authenticity of the letter, CNN reported, which is issued for potential landlords or different providers the place flight attendants have to confirm their employment and revenue. 

Whereas the wage listed within the letter is above the federal poverty line of $15,060 for a single-person family, that determine doesn’t mirror the true value of residing on a nationwide degree, which may be a lot greater in main metropolitan areas. 

The union has additionally been calling out the low beginning pay, which for a single-income family, meets the qualification standards for the federal Supplemental Vitamin Help Program (SNAP), or food-stamp advantages, in a number of states together with Massachusetts and New York.   

The union can be calling consideration to a rising difficulty of “company greed” by drawing comparisons between the wages an flight attendant can earn versus what the corporate’s CEO, Robert Isom, earns. 

The beginning wage for a brand new flight attendant is about $27,000 per yr, which is only a fraction of the CEO’s $31.4 million earned final yr–an quantity 1,162 occasions higher than the earnings of a brand new attendant. 

American Airways didn’t instantly reply to Fortune’s request for remark. 

To make certain, a concoction of challenges lie between the union representing American Airways’ flight attendants and administration. Beneath a federal legislation referred to as the Railway Labor Act, staff and union members within the airline and railroad industries aren’t allowed to go on strike with out permission from the federal government. Federal mediator teams, just like the Nationwide Mediation Board, might authorize such permission by declaring an deadlock in negotiations between American Airways and the union group, or by permitting the union to pursue a possible strike. 

The final contract the union negotiated was signed in 2014, in accordance with a November replace by the affiliation, and staff have been with out a increase since 2019. 

“Flight attendants are front-line staff left shouldering the load of inflation with out the compensation wanted to maintain tempo with the business,” the affiliation wrote in an announcement, and added that attendants’ high quality of life “could possibly be improved with a brand new collective bargaining settlement.” 

Just lately, the union has been pushing for a brand new contract to boost hourly wages, becoming a member of flight attendants from different airways, together with United Airways, Alaska Airways, and Southwest, that are making related calls for.

Making certain flight attendants are correctly paid is particularly essential contemplating their work mannequin consists of many hours of unpaid work. On common, full-time flight attendants solely get about 75 hours of hourly pay every month, and pay typically solely formally begins as soon as the airplane’s doorways shut, quite than compensation that additionally accounts for hours once they should be on the airport or on the airplane throughout the boarding course of. 

“One of the hectic elements of the flight expertise is throughout the boarding course of,” the union wrote in a Could 20 abstract, including, “but we aren’t paid for this work.” 

Securing boarding pay, the union wrote, “is a vital step in addressing this historic inequity”;  different airways have notably been making these modifications, albeit slowly. In June 2022, Delta Air Strains instituted boarding pay for flight attendants, providing staff half their hourly price throughout boarding, after dealing with threats of a union marketing campaign. Delta, nonetheless, is the one main U.S. airline whose flight attendants aren’t unionized.

The union is now proposing a 33% pay increase with a cap at $91 per hour throughout the first yr of a brand new contract, with pay raises of 5%, 4% and 4% for the remaining years of a four-year settlement. It’s additionally calling for retroactive pay raises primarily based on how a lot attendants labored over the past 5 years of negotiations. 

American Airways “refused to budge off a high price of $76 per hour, plus boarding pay and different enhancements,” the union wrote within the abstract, however the firm included advantages like boarding pay, greater 401K matching contributions, and revenue sharing on the identical system as pilots in its most up-to-date contract proposal to the union.

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