American Airlines is looking for flight attendants who will take less pay than the more than 2,000 attendants who recently accepted a buyout of $40,000 to leave the company.
The airline stated on Wednesday that it will post 1,500 flight attendant openings next month and will begin hiring in December, putting the new staff in training in January, reports Yahoo! News.
While it may seem strange that a company who is trying to cut labor costs under bankruptcy protection is hiring, the airline must replace at least some of the 2,205 flight attendants who were paid $40,000 to leave American Airlines (about one year’s salary).
The hiring spree for American marks the first time the company has hired flight attendants in 11 years.
The flight attendants who won’t work for less pay began working for the company before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that saw the crashes of two American Airlines jets. Since that time, they have seen the airline company lose over $10 billion.
Workers accepted pay cuts in 2003 to keep the company out of bankruptcy, but were outraged when they discovered that hundreds of management employees received bonuses. The flight attendants departures will be staggered over the next year.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the flight attendants job has lost the allure that it had when passengers received free meals in coach and flew in their Sunday best. The reality of the job is that it often includes long hours and responsibilities that include basic hosting duties, medical interventions — and even terrorism prevention.
The buyouts were part of a concessionary contract between American Airlines and flight attendants in August and is aimed at reducing the number of layoff from American Airlines’ bankruptcy. The contract will include tougher scheduling rules, but will give the attendants a three percent stake in the airline’s parent company, AMR Corporation, once it emerges from bankruptcy protection.
The new flight attendants will work for less than their more experienced co-workers, and will likely also work less than the outgoing staff.