BLUMENTHAL, MARKEY, SANDERS, BOOKER & BALDWIN URGE AMERICAN AIRLINES TO PROVIDE LIVING WAGES TO ITS 5,000 AMERICAN EAGLE AIRPORT WORKERS

 

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) wrote American Airlines Chairman and CEO W. Douglas Parker to urge the company to provide living wages to the 5,000 ground service agents employed by Envoy Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines that is more commonly known to travelers as American Eagle.  The starting hourly wage for an Envoy ground service agent is just $9.48, and more than half of Envoy agents make less than $11 an hour.  Envoy Air will enter federal mediation with the workers’ union, Communications Workers of America (CWA), on Monday, May 20. 

 

“American Airlines is a profitable company, with $1.4 billion in net income for 2018.  Yet 5,000 frontline, airport-based workers with Envoy Air are struggling to survive on poverty wages.  As you know, agents at Envoy Air are paid as little as $9.48 an hour and more than half of the agents make less than $11 an hour.  Your current proposal increases starting pay to $10.60 an hour and only $16.25 top pay after 14 years of service.  Meanwhile, American Airlines employees pay starts at $13.48, with regular pay increases, and with the ability to earn $30 an hour after 12 years.  This discrepancy in pay is unacceptable for Envoy workers struggling to get by.  Nearly 27 percent of Envoy employees depend on public assistance, including food stamps,” wrote the senators. “American Airlines has both a moral and economic responsibility to ensure that Envoy agents receive fair compensation and benefits, and at the very least, a living wage.  We demand that you reverse course on previous proposals and enter into the federal mediation process with the goal of providing meaningful wage increases for these workers.”

 

The full text of the letter is available here and copied below. 

 

May 17, 2019

 

Mr. W. Douglas Parker

Chairman and Chief Executive Office

American Airlines Group, Inc.

4333 Amon Carter Boulevard

Fort Worth, TX  76155

 

Dear Mr. Parker:

 

We write to ask that you agree to provide increased wages and improved benefits for thousands of Envoy Passenger Service Agents represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).  We understand that Envoy Air – a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines – is entering into federal mediation with CWA beginning on May 20, 2019.  We urge you to engage in meaningful negotiations to provide Envoy agents with livable, family-sustaining wages.

 

American Airlines is a profitable company, with $1.4 billion in net income for 2018.  Yet five thousand frontline, airport-based workers with Envoy Air are struggling to survive on poverty wages.  As you know, agents at Envoy Air are paid as little as $9.48 an hour and more than half of the agents make less than $11 an hour.  Your current proposal increases starting pay to $10.60 an hour and only $16.25 top pay after 14 years of service.  Meanwhile, American Airlines employees pay starts at $13.48, with regular pay increases, and with the ability to earn $30 an hour after 12 years.  This discrepancy in pay is unacceptable for Envoy workers struggling to get by. 

 

Nearly 27 percent of Envoy employees depend on public assistance, including food stamps.  Many must also take extreme measures to support themselves and their families, including selling plasma, buying expired food, and borrowing against retirement accounts.  Moreover, only 13 percent of Envoy agents report that they can get by on their wages.  Among those not receiving public assistance, 82 percent rely on family or friends to make ends meet.

 

Passenger service agents – like those employed by Envoy Air – ensure that flyers get to and from their destinations safely.  Envoy agents serve some of the nation’s largest airports as well as smaller regional airports – providing critical services to communities across the country.  In 2018, 53 percent of American’s domestic departures relied on regional carriers, like Envoy, to maintain adequate service.  Envoy agents are a critical component of American’s business, but low wages have increasingly pushed many these workers to find other means of employment, leading to unnecessary training and hiring costs for the company.

 

American Airlines has both a moral and economic responsibility to ensure that Envoy agents receive fair compensation and benefits, and at the very least, a living wage.  We demand that you reverse course on previous proposals and enter into the federal mediation process with the goal of providing meaningful wage increases for these workers.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important request and we look forward to your office keeping us updated as negotiations continue.

 

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