Americans Airlines flight attendants and ground crew demonstrated outside San Francisco International Airport Wednesday, joining workers at other U.S. airports in a protest over the airline’s executive compensation.
Outside SFO’s Terminal 2, at least 50 American Airlines employees joined the demonstration, which was organized by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, APFA spokeswoman Julie Hedrick said.
Protest organizers claim that executives of AMR–American Airlines’ parent company–were awarded more than $100 million in bonuses and salary increases since 2003, while flight attendants have forfeited more than $340 million per year in salary and benefit concessions in order to save the airline from bankruptcy, Hedirck said.
“Our theme today is corporate greed in America,” Hedrick said.
AMR today reported a 2011 first quarter loss of $436 million, down from $505 million for the same time period in 2010, according to the company’s website.
Union advocates believe that bonuses should not be paid to executives while American Airlines is losing money.
“If there’s any reason to get a bonus, it should be for performance,” Hedrick said.
American Airlines spokeswoman Missy Cousino said that no bonuses have been paid to American Airlines executives since 2001.
A portion of executives’ pay comes from the vesting of stock options, according to American Airlines. Since money received from stock options is based on the stock’s price when it’s exercised, executive pay is directly tied to the company’s performance.
“American’s executive compensation plan directly links pay to the company’s performance,” Cousino said in a statement.
“The value of any shares granted under the Performance Share Plan won’t be known until they vest, but it’s expected this year’s plan will pay out significantly below the value originally targeted by the AMR board,” Cousino said.
American Airlines and APFA employees have been negotiating a new contract since June 2008.
“We remain committed to working with all the unions to reach agreements addressing the needs of both parties,” Cousino said.
APFA demonstrations were expected to take place today at airports in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Miami, and Boston.
Chris Cooney, Bay City News