"In 1945, five brave Stewardesses working for United Airlines formed the first union for Airline Stewardesses. Ada Brown Greenfield, Frances Hall, Edith Lauterbach, Sally Thometz and Sally Watt Keenan named their union the Air Line Stewardess Association (ALSA). This was the beginning of our union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. The foundation they laid has allowed us to build the profession we now call Flight Attendant. In honor of our founders, October 1st will be the official AFA-CWA Founders Day in which we will pause around the world to remember our Founding Mothers and reflect upon their contributions to our profession."
- AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws, Section I.R.
The AFA-CWA 2013 Board of Directors established Union Founders’ Day, to be celebrated on October 1, the birthday of Edith Lauterbach, the last surviving founder of AFA, who passed away earlier this year. A United Flight Attendant for more than four decades until her retirement in 1986, and active in AFA until the end, Ede witnessed the evolution of our profession from ‘sky girl’ to first responder. Along with Frances Hall, Sally Thometz, Sally Watt and Ada Brown, Ede established the Air Line Stewardesses Association in 1945. Today, let us remember our founding mothers and the resounding impact of their contributions to our profession.
Did you know that the Retiree Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (RAFA) is a vital part of our union? RAFA unites retired members in a cohesive organization to advocate for retiree and pre-retiree needs. With over 1,000 members, RAFA organizes and participates in legislative, educational, civic, social, economic and community activities to advance and enhance the interests of AFA retirees. For information on joining RAFA or to start your own RAFA chapter, visit www.rafa-cwa.org.