Wall Street wrong on raises, American flight attendants’ union says

Wall Street wrong on raises, American flight attendants’ union says
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/aviation/sky-talk-blog/articl...

BY ANDREA AHLES
aahles@star-telegram.com

The flight attendants’ union at American Airlines is blasting Wall Street analysts for criticizing pay raises announced by the carrier last month.

In an online campaign, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said it is frustrated that Wall Street analysts opposed the raises given to American’s flight attendants and pilots and feels investors are being short-sighted. The ads are running in Texas newspapers, including the Star-Telegram, and in aviation journals.

“It seems Wall Street is putting pressure on the airline industry to squeeze out more revenue, but they could care less about passengers or front-line workers,” APFA President Bob Ross said. “Analysts are claiming that a long overdue adjustment in our pay scale will reward workers ahead of shareholders. We’re going to set the record straight.”

The union said shareholders have received $9 billion in stock buyouts and $600 million in stock dividends over the past three years, which is close to 10 times what pilots and flight attendants will receive in compensation during the next three years.

Pilots received an average pay raise of 8 percent while flight attendants received an average raise of 5 percent, effective this month.

During its quarterly earnings call, Wall Street analysts repeatedly questioned American CEO Doug Parker on his rationale for giving raises to workers outside of contract negotiations.

Citigroup analyst Kevin Crissey said it was frustrating. “Labor is being paid first again. Shareholders get leftovers,” he was quoted as saying.

Shares of American [ticker: AAL] initially fell 9 percent when the pay raises were first announced. The shares have since recovered, closing at $45.83 on Friday.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk