CA Meal and Rest Legislative Fix

California Meal and Rest Legislative Fix

December 29, 2022 — All over the country the airlines have argued that benefits associated with state law don’t apply to us. They argue we should be “preempted” from these benefits due to the nature of our work and the various federal laws that relate to our industry. Our union is challenging them at every turn and we’ve been successful in winning benefits like Kin Care in California, or removing exemptions for airline workers such as the Illinois sick leave law. The wages and hour laws of California have long provided that employees get a fifteen-minute break after four hours of work. This is an important provision for workers across California and one we support. These provisions have not, however, been applied to Flight Attendants and other Flight Crew.

You may recall several communications on this from AFA Interactive (our email newsletter) or perhaps you joined the Town Hall we conducted last summer reviewing the history of the case and reporting that a legislative fix is the best answer on this rule.

To recap: Over ten years ago, a group of Virgin America Flight Attendants who did not have a union or a contract at the time, filed a lawsuit to challenge their airline under this law. The case is commonly referred to as Bernstein. AFA is the only union to have formally supported the Virgin America Flight Attendants with our filing a friend of the court brief urging the court to rule in their favor. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court for consideration this year. We suspect the airlines hoped the Supreme Court would take the case and rule against our right to state benefits across the country that exceed federal law, such as FMLA provisions, sick leave standards that stop airlines from disciplining for properly using sick leave, and other benefits.

The Supreme Court did not take the case. The airlines lost this time. Flight Attendants won. And now we have to lock it in.

Instead of preemption, AFA pushed the airlines to resolve the operational challenges of meal and rest law through a legislative fix that would codify our rights to bargain over these provisions rather than allow the unintended consequences of the meal and rest law to interfere with the scheduling of flights for Flight Attendants based in California. We didn’t want to put this in the hands of trial lawyers who could inadvertently undermine our nationwide fight to preserve our rights. We need to lock in the win with Bernstein and codify our ability to hold airlines accountable.

There will be more news on this legislation in the New Year. But most importantly, we are focused on building power together to use at every negotiating table. We're proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we fight forward for our careers.

In Solidarity,

Sara, Keturah, and Dante
AFA International Officers

News Desk

Latest News

See All »

Media Releases

See All »

Latest Tweets

Union Plus Benefits

union-plus.jpgUnion Plus Benefits for AFA-CWA Members!
AFA-CWA members are automatically eligible for the following Union Plus benefits and discounts.

More benefits »