Flight Attendant Union Observes Workers Memorial Day With Renewed Call For Flight Attendant OSHA Protections

Washington, DC – The world's largest Flight Attendant union run by and for Flight Attendants, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), was a prominent voice today at the Workers Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the National Labor College. AFA Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Creighan issued the following remarks as part of a panel discussing the struggle for safe workplaces:

"Today's date, April 28, has been and continues to be a day of special significance to Flight Attendants. On the afternoon of April 28, 1988, Aloha Airlines flight 243 experienced a major incident when an 18 foot section of fuselage in the forward section of the aircraft ripped away, causing an explosive decompression that exposed terrified passengers to blue sky, flying debris, loose wiring and intense winds. Tragically, as the ceiling of the Boeing 737 disappeared, so did senior Flight Attendant Clarabelle (C.B.) Lansing.  Ultimately, search and rescue teams scoured the Hawaiian waters but were never able to find her body.

"The death of C.B. Lansing, as is true when any worker dies, was immensely tragic. It was also, of course, completely preventable. Incidents as devastating as occurred on Aloha flight 243 are thankfully rare. Far more common are the numerous and virtually unregulated occupational hazards encountered on board commercial flights, including turbulence, onboard noise levels, unwieldy service carts, broken luggage bins, intoxicated passengers, communicable diseases, the list goes on.

"Unfortunately, as we also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), we lament that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to claim exclusive jurisdiction over safety and health of Flight Attendants and other aviation employees. The FAA's asserted control over crewmember health and safety has led to 36 years of virtually no regulatory protections.

"From its inception, AFA has fought vigorously on behalf of its members. Today, as we gather to mourn for the dead, we also continue to fight for the living. We do this by demanding the mandatory safety and health protections for Flight Attendants that only OSHA can provide. We do this by demanding duty and rest requirements that combat Flight Attendant fatigue in order that our working sisters and brothers may keep themselves healthy and fit, and better ensure the safety, health and security of the traveling public. And we do this by demanding the recognition and respect that our Flight Attendant sisters and brothers, as safety professionals and airborne first responders, so richly deserve."

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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