AFA Congratulates Secretary Buttigieg on His Confirmation to Head DOT

Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2021)Following the Senate's confirmation of Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International President Sara Nelson, representing nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines, released the following statement:

“We congratulate Secretary Buttigieg on his confirmation. We welcome him to our transportation family and look forward to working together to tackle the challenges ahead of us. Secretary Buttigieg has already demonstrated his commitment to working people and involvement of stakeholders in order to run an effective department. We’re excited to get to work.

“The first task at hand is to contain and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. As essential aviation workers, Flight Attendants have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one and we are counting on Secretary Buttigieg to take swift and decisive action to protect transportation workers and the traveling public. That response must include mask mandates with real enforcement, access to proper PPE, clear requirements related to paid leave and quarantine procedures, and priority vaccine access for Flight Attendants and other essential transportation workers. We are eager to work alongside the Department of Transportation to craft and implement these and other necessary measures. 

“The pandemic is immediately pressing, but there’s also a lot of catch up work to get DOT running at full speed on infrastructure and safety initiatives already prioritized by Congress. The previous administration refused to implement the 10-hours minimum rest rule for Flight Attendants that Congress passed in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization bill, and we are eager to work with Secretary Buttigieg to issue guidance and require compliance without delay. 

“Over recent years, the FAA and DOT have ceded far too much power to corporations for oversight functions, allowing regulated parties like Boeing to call their own balls and strikes. It is imperative that Secretary Buttigieg move to ensure a thorough and independent review of oversight policy, particularly Organization Designation Authorizations.

“We also hope to work collaboratively with Secretary Buttigieg to strengthen the safety and health of Flight Attendants and passengers, from addressing onboard air quality to combatting human trafficking, inflight sexual assault and harassment to defending our rights to organize and negotiate fair wages and working conditions. 

“Secretary Buttigieg’s confirmation as our first openly-gay Cabinet Secretary is a moment we can all be proud of, and we have heard from thousands of Flight Attendants about what this means to them. We are grateful for Pete Buttigieg’s leadership and courage—by fearlessly and courageously sharing his journey and experience, he inspires millions of others, including Flight Attendants, to do the same. In aviation we bring people together and that means celebrating and honoring our diversity. We know in aviation we are stronger and better together.”


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

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