Flight Attendant Union Celebrates Evolution Of Profession On Anniversary Of First Contract

First Flight Attendant Contract Signed at United Airlines 65 Years Ago

Washington, DC – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), the largest Flight Attendant union run by and for Flight Attendants, this week honored the 65th anniversary of the first Flight Attendant contract and reflected on the evolution of the unique profession. On April 26, 1946, United Flight Attendants, represented by AFA, signed the first Flight Attendant contract. That historic contract raised monthly pay, limited duty hours, set rest periods and established a grievance procedure. It laid the foundation for the Flight Attendant career that AFA continues to build on today.

"This week is a true testament to the fact that AFA has been with United Flight Attendants since day one," said Veda Shook, AFA International President. "Thanks to the legacy that United Flight Attendants created, AFA has been the strongest advocate for Flight Attendants, shaping our jobs into a respected profession and a career in which both women and men take pride."

Since 1946, AFA Flight Attendants have had the ability to directly negotiate the terms of their employment as a group, taking advantage of their collective strength in numbers. Over the past 65 years, AFA members have refined and broadened contractual work rules that address the unique aspects of the Flight Attendant work environment, pay structure, scheduling process, rest needs and more. In addition to improving pay, benefits and working conditions for Flight Attendants, AFA's advocacy has consistently improved safety and security standards in the cabin, benefiting both crew and passengers.

AFA has a long resume of achievements that improve Flight Attendants' quality of life including challenging discriminatory policies based on gender, race, age, weight, and family status. AFA is behind the repeals of the weight program, the smoking ban on commercial flights, ensuring that all Flight Attendants working on U.S.-flagged carriers are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), seniority protections in mergers and extending FMLA coverage to Flight Attendants.

"Our achievements in evolving the Flight Attendant profession from 'sky girl' to first responder are a tribute to the United Flight Attendants who made history 65 years ago," Shook stated. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our predecessors who continue to inspire us daily."

For over 65 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA, the world's largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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