We Owe Our Jobs to Rep. Peter DeFazio

Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2021) — Following the announcement by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that he will retire at the conclusion of the 117th Congress, AFA International President Sara Nelson released the following statement:

“From the first day he served in Congress, Flight Attendants have always been able to count on Chair Peter DeFazio.

“It’s hard to quantify how much DeFazio means to Flight Attendants. Our careers simply wouldn’t be the same without him. From fines and penalties for disruptive passengers and sexual assault, to evacuation standards and staffing requirements to stopping the spraying of poisonous pesticides in the cabin to fighting for child restraint seats for our youngest passengers to aircraft certification standards and oversight to ensure aircraft are safe and increasing Flight Attendant minimum rest to fight fatigue, he’s been a champion for our jobs and the health and safety of passengers and crew onboard.

“But the past two years with DeFazio as Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Flight Attendants and aviation workers had exactly the right person in charge during the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced. Without a doubt, we owe our jobs and a functioning airline industry to Peter DeFazio. He used years of experience in dealing with one crisis after another and vowing to protect the people on the frontlines after the fallout of 9/11 was put on our backs.

"Peter was the champion for our Payroll Support Program, the #WorkersFirst, most effective and transparent jobs program in COVID relief. Thanks to his unwavering support and tenacious advocacy inside Congress, millions of aviation workers kept our jobs, paychecks and benefits during the pandemic. Without PSP, aviation would have been a chokepoint on our economic recovery, but thanks to Peter’s hard work to secure the package and two extensions, our aviation industry was able to return to nearly full capacity almost overnight as demand came barreling back as the public got vaccinated. It is not hyperbole to say that Peter’s work on this issue played a central role in our country’s ongoing recovery, and for millions of aviation workers he secured a lifeline during the longest and deepest crisis in commercial aviation’s history.

“Over the years, I’ve known Peter as our greatest champion in Congress, and I’m honored to call him my friend. We can’t imagine Congress without the representative who broke the mold remembering where he came from and using his commitment to everyday people to drive his relentless advocacy, policy wonk curiosity, and strategic smarts to get results. Peter has never been afraid to speak the truth or take on a righteous fight for the people. His legacy will live on in the countless positive changes he’s made for our profession, his mentorship of all of us who’ve had the privilege to work with him, our industry and our country. He may be retiring from an amazing career we all have benefited from, but Peter’s work and leadership will endure with every flight, ship, truck, and train that moves with the power of the American worker.”


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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