Flight attendants at American Airlines and US Airways are a step closer to becoming one.
US Airways flight attendants voted Friday for an agreement allowing the Association of Professional Flight Attendants to become their bargaining agent.
APFA currently represents American Airlines' flight attendants. The US Airways workers are currently represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
Once the representation agreement is filed with the National Mediation Board, APFA will represent 24,000 flight attendants at the new American Airlines. The agreement calls for contract talks to begin with American management within 60 days.
"We will work diligently over the next year to ensure our contract reflects our valuable contributions to the success of American Airlines. Unity pays," said AFA US Airways president Roger Holmin.
The unions will form a joint negotiating agreement and will present American management with a contract proposal in the next two months. American has agreed to meet with the flight attendants' negotiators for the next five months to try to reach a new contract for the flight attendants.
"With this ratification vote, we can hit the ground running on negotiations for a new joint contract," said APFA president Laura Glading. The two unions previously agreed on a seniority integration process based on date-of-hire for the flight attendants.
The negotiating process includes arbitration if the two sides can't agree on a new contract and sets a timeline that could lead to a new contract implemented by the beginning of 2015.
American CEO Doug Parker congratulated union leaders for quickly reaching agreements on contract bargaining and union representation.
"We are very pleased that the people of American are working together in an environment of coordinated, collaborative teamwork and mutual respect to restore American as the greatest airline in the world," Parker said in a prepared statement.