CHICAGO — American Airlines flight attendants overwhelmingly voted in favor of authorizing a strike. 

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said Wednesday that more than 99% of the voting membership supports the authorization. 

Voting took place during the last month, but the results don’t mean a strike will happen just yet. 

Flight attendants held informational pickets at O’Hare Airport and eleven other locations across the United States. Among the signs visible were, “AA makes billions. We can’t pay rent,” and “Ready to strike.”

“We are ready for an unprecedented contract,” said Dray Howard, Chicago-based president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “We are ready for our flight attendants, who are new hires, to be able to live off of a decent wage. Not just survive. We are ready for a contract that allows us to have a healthy work-life balance. We are ready for a better retirement package. We are ready for better contractual language.”

American Airlines responded, saying it understands a strike authorization vote is one of the ways flight attendants express their desire to get a deal done. However, the airline company adds that the results don’t change its commitment or distract them from working to reach an agreement. 

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in negotiations with the APFA, and we look forward to reaching an agreement that provides our flight attendants with real and meaningful value.” 

Last summer, American Airlines pilots also picketed for raises and improved work-life balance. This month, a new contract was ratified, including a pay raise of more than 40% over four years and bonuses, ABC News reported.