Flight Attendant Union Honors Life And Legacy Of Founding Member Edith Lauterbach

Washington, DC, February 5 , 2013 – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) issued the following statement today after the passing of AFA’s last remaining founding member, Edith Edna Lauterbach:

“Today, the Flight Attendant community lost our hero, our guiding light - Edith Lauterbach. As our heavy hearts remember our friend and trailblazing founder, we reflect on Edith’s contributions to our profession and our union each and everyday.

“After being hired by United Airlines in 1944, Edith was a motivated activist who quickly began questioning Flight Attendant safety, wages and working conditions. By 1945, after joining forces with four Flight Attendant colleagues, the first union organized, run and controlled by women was founded. And for nearly seven decades, her role and involvement in our union has been invaluable to hundreds of Flight Attendant leaders and an inspiration to countless activists.

“Edith’s legacy to our profession still touches each and every Flight Attendant across the country. In 1952, she assisted in the creation of Federal regulations for Flight Attendant safety and evacuations. Her advocacy helped establish an evacuation process that serves as a basis today. As a result of her work, the 90-second evacuation was established and serves as a basis for evacuations today.

“Her devotion to collective bargaining rights resulted in improving the lives of Flight Attendants through AFA negotiated contracts. In addition to increasing Flight Attendant compensation, Edith was instrumental in getting rid of the mandatory 32-year-old retirement age and was the first Flight Attendant to celebrate 40 years at an airline.

“The evolution of the Flight Attendant profession and the legacy of Edith Lauterbach go hand in hand. Today, as we do every day, we pay tribute to our friend whose fearlessness and devotion to advancing rights at work, paved the way for thousands of Flight Attendants and will continue to be a shining beacon for many to come.”

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 67 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org .

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