TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The couple dozen picketers outside the Blue Express Curbsides at Tampa International Airport on Monday said they were a small part of thousands around the world.
The chanters were United Airlines flight attendants, demanding higher pay.
“We’re here today because we have been out of a contract for two years,” said Erin Dougherty. “Which means more than half of our flight attendants have not gotten a raise in two years.”
The Association of Flight Attendants said United had $1.5 billion in profits last quarter, and they want a piece of that pie. It said protests of some form were happening by flight attendants in every airport United has a hub, even as a far away as London.
“The company has industry leading flight attendants that are doing industry leading work,” Dougherty said. “They have industry profits that they’ve never had before.”
In a statement to 8 On Your Side, United Airlines said it is seeing good progress in contract negotiations, and closed out six sections of the contract on Wednesday.
“We are hopeful that this progress will provide momentum toward our goal of reaching an industry-leading agreement,” the statement read.
The airline added that all United flights will operate as planned, since flight attendants are picketing on their time off.
“It’s about just having some realistic conversations at the table with us,” said Dougherty. “We’ve been doing this for over two years, and we’re nowhere.”
And flight attendants weren’t the only ones on the line.
“It’s time, clearly, I think in a lot of people’s opinion, that workers get together again,” said Larry Duncan. “Stand up and get what they deserve.”
Duncan said he is the father of a United flight attendant.
“She explained last night what the demands were,” Duncan recalled. “They sound overdue, to be honest with you.”
So Duncan decided to join his daughter.
“They deeply believe in what they’re doing,” Duncan said. “Flight attendants are incredible, the work that they do.”
The union said it was limited by TPA in how many people could be picketed and how long they could be out for, but said it has plenty more supporters.