“A Cauldron of Dissent…” APFA President to Step Down Early

After fewer than two years on the job, current APFA President Bob Ross has voluntarily decided not to run for re-election. While Ross was elected to a four-year term in 2016, the union is being forced by the Department of Labor to re-run his election citing issues with providing security for its voters.

His decision not to run is being driven by the politics associated with his role, particularly the impact of social media.  Ross described the union as a “cauldron of dissent magnified by Facebook” and “manipulated by people who have forgotten the difference between unionism and opportunism, by personal and political agendas.”

Among the issues causing discontent is the inability of American flight attendants to fly together years after their various mergers were finalized.  While American initially announced that full operational integration (FOI) would occur in mid-2017, they have now delayed FOI until October 2018 citing IT challenges. As a point of reference, Delta flight attendants were able to fly together six months after final resolution of representation.

An effort to recall Ross began after he had only served six months as APFA President. While the issue is now moot, flight attendants report that they have signatures from enough members to force another election and they plan on submitting the signatures to the APFA board.

This lack of confidence in union leadership is not just confined to Ross:

  • American flight attendants also attempted to recall Ross’s predecessor Laura Glading
  • In 2016, Spirit flight attendants ousted their entire AFA Master Executive Council after it took nine years to ratify a new labor agreement and efforts to decertify the AFA continue today
  • ExpressJet flight attendants filed for an election to oust the IAM, but ultimately couldn’t gather enough authorization cards for a vote
  • At United, on the heels of their most recent contract, there was an effort to obtain authorization cards to decertify the AFA





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