A tempest in a teapot is brewing over the difference between a logo and a slogan at American Airlines on a shirt, with the union representing flight attendants apparently insisting that a slogan is a logo. Flight attendants at AA should insist on more from their union.
American Airlines Flight Attendants Are Not Stupid: The Logo Issue Is A Clear Distraction From The Failure Of APFA To Secure A New Contract
It is a contentious time between labor and management at American Airlines with flight attendants fighting for a new contract and the two sides far off. Unlike in the case of pilots, there is not a critical shortage of flight attendants which could push wages disproportionately higher. But flight attendants have not seen raises in years and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has been tasked with securing a new contract for the 27,000 flight attendants at AA.
Flight attendants have authorized a strike (though such a strike could only begin 30 days after government approval…), but the latest flashpoint, as noted by aviation-insider JonNYC, is whether deadheading flight attendants can wear a union t-shirt.
The APFA claims American Airlines has prohibited deadheading and training flight attendants (meaning they are being paid) from wearing shirts with the APFA logo.
§16.E of the collective bargaining agreement states:
A deadheading Flight Attendant must be in uniform or wear the normal nonrevenue attire applicable to the class of service, except the Flight Attendant may not wear shorts, undershirts, or t-shirts with slogans.
AA has told flight attendants that union-issued t-shirts run afoul this policy:
Section 16.E. of the JCBA prohibits wearing t-shirts and slogans when deadheading. Additionally, in Training, we’ve had a longstanding business casual dress code for training, and shirts with slogans are not in line with that policy.
But the APFA argues that there is a difference between a logo and a slogan and that the APFA logo is not a slogan:
The JCBA does not define what a “slogan” is, however, according to Oxford Languages, a “slogan” is defined as “a short and striking or memorable phrase used in advertising.” Conversely, a “logo” is defined as “a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.” The APFA logo is clearly a symbol, not a phrase, meaning a shirt displaying the APFA logo is not a “t-shirt with a slogan” as prohibited by Section 16.E of the JCBA.
The Company permits – and likely encourages – its employees to wear attire with the American Airlines logo on it while traveling and, in turn, presumably does not categorize such attire with its own logo as a “shirt with a slogan on it.” Succinctly put, in relation to the APFA logo shirts, the Company arbitrarily makes this distinction in an effort to prohibit Flight Attendants from proudly supporting and showing solidarity with their Union. It is unquestionably evident that the Company’s prohibition of Flight Attendants wearing an APFA logo shirt to/from and while attending training is solely intended to “chill” and/or suppress lawful union activity.
Reasonable, right? A logo can be clearly distinguished from a slogan.
Well, not so fast. What do some of the shirts look like?
Hmm. “We Are Ready” (spelling WAR…) does not look like a logo to me. It looks like a slogan. In fact, it is a slogan by the very definition the APFA provided.
It seems to me that American Airlines is totally within its rights to prohibit garb with such slogans when flight attendants are being paid to sit in the passenger cabin.
Now, before we just summarily dismiss the APFA concerns, it is not clear that this is purely about the “WAR” shirts. American Airlines has a case against these particular shirts, but not against the union logo absent an accompanying slogan.
But if the APFA is really trying to say these WAR shirts should be permitted, they are guilty of why I am so skeptical of the benefits of unions for airline employees. Manufacture a drama when one does not (or should not exist) to stoke the flames of discontent (of which consumers wind up on the receiving end with poor service onboard) as a diversion from the fact that it has continually failed to win such basic concessions as boarding pay, while non-unionized labor at Delta and SkyWest have been given that.
Are flight attendants really better off with a portion of thier monthly salaries siphoned off to an organization that is trying to argue with a straight face that a slogan is simply a logo?
Flight attendants at American Airlines must be realistic in what they expect to receive in a new contract, but they also should expect more from their union and not be swindled into this outrage over an issue that should not be controversial.
The difference between a slogan and logo is at the heart of a biter disagreement between American Airlines management and the union representing flight attendants. It seems to me that the “WAR” shirt can only be described as a slogan (with the logo on it) and that such attire is reasonably not permitted when on company time.
Flight attendants at American Airlines are not stupid. I hope they see that this is just a distraction from the fact that union leaders have failed to negotiate a meaningful raise for the workers they are paid to represent.
(H/T: One Mile At A Time)