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American Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike - union

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Airbus A321 plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport

(Reuters) - American Airlines' flight attendants voted to authorize a strike if the company refuses to agree to "reasonable" contract terms, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said on Wednesday.

An overwhelming 99.47% of the flight attendants represented by the labor union voted to authorize a strike, according to APFA that covers more than 26,000 flight attendants at the carrier.

"Flight attendants are fired up and ready for a contract. They (the company) ignore this strike vote at their peril," Julie Hedrick, national president of APFA, said in a statement.

If the company and the union are unable to reach an agreement in federal mediation, APFA could request to be released into a 30-day cooling-off period, after which the attendants would be free to begin a strike.

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The deliberations come as union workers including pilots, employees and delivery drivers enjoy enhanced bargaining power against the backdrop of a tight labor market and a rise in public support for unions.

Last week, American Airlines' pilots approved a new contract that includes more than $9.6 billion in total pay and benefits increases over four years, as it competes with rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

With travel demand showing no signs of cooling off, airlines have been in a rush to staff up which has bolstered workers to bargain for higher salaries and improved working conditions.

(Reporting by Priyamvada C in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)