CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Piedmont Airlines flight attendants protested in front of Charlotte Douglas International, demanding higher wages. The Association of Flight Attendants Union is currently in contract negotiations with Piedmont but union leaders say they’ve hit a standstill. 

Union workers say, on average, regional flight attendants are paid 45% less than mainline attendants.

“We just want to be able to live right now. As it is, we can’t afford to work here,” said Lily Turpin, Flight Attendant with Piedmont Airlines.

Turpin said the base pay for a new regional flight attendant at Piedmont is around $16,000 dollars a year.

“A lot of the new brand new flight attendants at that wage, they are qualified for food stamps, housing assistance. I know years ago, before multiple contracts with mainline, they had food banks that like the older flight attendants would set up for the younger flight attendants and ops so that they would be able to eat,” said Charles Starks, a flight attendant at American Airlines.

Some 130 flight attendants work for the Piedmont base at CLT.

“We’re going through contract negotiations also. So we’re kind of a step behind them. So anything that’s they’re dealing with, I know we’re going to be dealing with, you know, in the near future. So we’re going to come help support them so that hopefully they’ll come and help support us in the future,” Starks said.

Piedmont issued the following statement:

“We are dedicated to getting a competitive contract negotiated for our more than 350 Piedmont Flight Attendants. We have the most professional Flight Service professionals in the industry, and Piedmont is a leader in safety and performance because of their efforts. We are in agreement our team members deserve the best contract and we are committed to delivering that to them. We look forward to getting back to negotiations in December.”