By Marie Saavedra
Phoenix, AZ (KTVK/CNN) - Dozens of U.S. Airways flight attendants picketed at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. They called for pay raises and threatened to strike if they don't get them.
The warning is simple: pay us or chaos. More than 100 U.S. Airways flight attendants want to make sure you, the airline, and especially the mediators hear that loud and clear.
"It sends a message to the National Mediation Board, give us more dates to negotiate. We'd rather negotiate," said Debora Volpe with the Association of Flight Attendants.
Volpe is speaking on behalf of the former America West flight attendants. Since its merger with U.S. Airways, they've argued that they're getting paid much less than their flight attendant counterparts out east.
There have been several tentative agreements. U.S. Airways says the last was in late September when the attendants rejected a contract that offered a pay increase that varied between 13 and 45 percent.
With negotiations stalled, the attendants are voting this week on whether or not they want to prepare to strike should they continue without a contract. Those results should come next week.
In reaction, a spokesman for U.S. Airways said Wednesday's formal picketing will not create any delays or cancellations at Phoenix Sky harbor.
It's also important to note that even if U.S. Airways flight attendants vote to authorize a strike, by no means is a strike close to happening.
By drawing attention now, these flight attendants hope to avoid any strikes later.
Should preparations for a strike move forward, the Association of Flight Attendants and U.S. Airways say it would not happen anytime during Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it could cause problems during spring break.
Again, that's only if negotiations don't continue.