Flight attendants at American re-elect president

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2012 6:49 PM
Flight attendants at American re-elect president

American Airlines flight attendants facing layoffs and pay cuts divided their votes by narrowly re-electing the president but picking a vice president from an opposing slate.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said Friday that President Laura Glading got 4,434 votes or 51 percent, to beat challenger Liz Geiss, who received 4,284 votes.

Glading will begin her second 4-year term as the union tries to soften the blow of American's proposals to cut pay and benefits and get more hours of work from employees.

American and parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and American wants to eliminate 13,000 jobs, including 2,300 flight attendants. The union hired financial advisers to go over AMR's books.

Geiss, a member of the union's executive committee, had charged that Glading wasn't an effective negotiator for flight attendants. Geiss was first in three-way voting in January but couldn't hold the lead in the runoff between the top two finishers.

While Glading won re-election, her running mate, Anne Loew, lost to Geiss ally and fellow executive committee member Marcus Gluth, who got 53 percent of Friday's vote for vice president. A Glading supporter and union spokesman, Jeff Pharr, was elected secretary, while Geiss ally Greg Gunter was elected treasurer.

The union said 64.5 percent of eligible workers cast ballots by phone or Internet.

APFA is one of three major unions at American. Lately, the flight attendants and the Transport Workers Union have been more openly critical of company management than the Allied Pilots Association, which after years of bitter conflict has struck a more conciliatory tone since electing a new president in June 2010.