‘Flight attendants are fed up’: Piedmont Airlines employees picket in Charlotte, fight for better pay and working conditions

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:10 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With the busy holiday travel season looming, Piedmont Airlines flight attendants held a rally Thursday at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport following negotiation sessions.

The group of workers picketed alongside AFA union leaders to “fight discriminatory wage policies that flight attendants on regional carriers face.”

“On average, regional flight attendants are compensated 45% less than flight attendants on mainline carriers with new hires at Piedmont making an average base pay of only $16,500,” a press release said.

Last month, AFA Piedmont flight attendants voted to authorize a strike with 100 percent voting in support.

“We kept those planes flying during a pandemic, we’re still keeping them flying in the air, we’re dealing with passenger rage every day, hone life issues and all we want is a livable wage,” said flight attendant Brittanie Phillips.

Piedmont is a subsidiary of American Airlines and operates roughly 400 regional flights a day, with many originating or passing through Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

About 100 of Piedmont’s flight attendants are also based in the Queen City. The flight attendants have said they want higher pay and better working conditions.

This has been a long battle. The Association of Flight Attendants has been in contract negotiations with the airline for three years. The big increase in the number of unruly passengers on flights during the pandemic seems to have sped up the need for resolution on this contract.

“Piedmont Airlines management, a wholly-owned regional subsidiary of American Airlines, has proposed minimal pay increases that do not provide a living wage for Piedmont flight attendants. The minimal pay increases combined with health care benefits would, in many cases, leave flight attendants earning less than they do today, while American doles out record bonuses to other workgroups,” the group said.

Piedmont Airlines released the following statement to WBTV:

“We are dedicated to getting a competitive contract negotiated for our more than 350 Piedmont Flight Attendants. We have the most professional Flight Service professionals in the industry, and Piedmont is a leader in safety and performance because of their efforts. We are in agreement our team members deserve the best contract and we are committed to delivering that to them. We look forward to getting back to negotiations in December.”

More than 30,000 travelers are expected to fly out of Charlotte daily from Tuesday through Sunday, Nov. 28.

“Flight attendants are fed up. They are ready to do whatever we need to do to get a fair contract and livable wages,” Keturah Johnson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants for Piedmont Airlines, said.

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