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Dear AFA Members:
We made history. Four decades after OSHA was created and safety and health protections were extended to the workplace of most Americans, we have finally achieved OSHA protections for Flight Attendants in the aircraft cabin.
The FAA released a policy statement that extends many of the safety and health standards we already have in our workplaces outside the aircraft cabin. This is an enormous achievement and it would not have been possible without the persistent, tireless work of our union.
You were a part of making this happen. For decades AFA has pursued legal and regulatory solutions to extend OSHA safety and health protections to workers in the airline industry. The roadblocks have been enormous, but our union kept this as a priority and through the leadership and dedicated work of our Air Safety, Health and Security Department as well as the grassroots organizing led by our Government Affairs Department and thousands of your calls to Capitol Hill, we succeeded in ensuring that OSHA standards in the cabin were included as part of the FAA reauthorization bill. The bill provided a path, but without our persistence and collaboration with these agencies this policy statement may not have come to fruition. It is our focused and expert work for Flight Attendants that achieved this historical result today.
"Flight attendants are our first responders in the sky, so ensuring a safe workplace for them helps to keep air travel safer for everyone," said Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and U.S. Senator-elect for Hawaii.
We must also recognize the Obama Administration for making this possible. Obama appointees lifted roadblocks and determined they could work together to address concerns related to the unique conditions of our work space so that safety and health standards could be applied to the cabin. The Obama Administration supported the work between these agencies, as noted in the FAA press release, with the incredibly supportive statements from Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Not all of our members may be aware of how long we have fought to achieve this result. In 1975, the FAA claimed exclusive jurisdiction over workplace safety and health for all crewmembers, preventing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – the agency that regulates the safety and health of most U.S. workers – from protecting Flight Attendants and other crewmembers while working on-board commercial airline flights.
We are meeting with your AFA local leaders to review what this policy change will mean for us and when we can expect it to take effect. We will keep AFA members closely advised on implementation and what it means for our work place.
Thank you for all you do every day to keep our skies safe.
AFA-CWA International President
AFA-CWA International Vice President
AFA-CWA International Secretary-Treasurer