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AFA-CWA Documents the Impact of Low Pay on Flight Attendants

Traveling the world, exotic locales, and financial independence—just a few of the things one might associate with being a Flight Attendant. The reality, as highlighted in a recent survey of Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants, couldn’t be farther from that vision, however.

In that survey, released earlier this month, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) found that well over half of respondents said they don’t have $500 cash during the month after paying bills. Over 70% of respondents reported not having savings equal to three months of living expenses, a typical level for emergency funds.

Due to the high cost of living in “base cities” where Flight Attendants are assigned, “nine percent [of Flight Attendants surveyed] responded that at some point in the past year, they have experienced homelessness, lived in their car, lived in a shelter, or endured some combination of these circumstances. Over 10% of Flight Attendants reported that they live with their parents/families because they cannot afford rent, and 43% replied that they must have multiple roommates to afford housing.”

Members of the AFA-CWA have engaged in several high-profile picketing actions at airports around the globe to raise awareness about substandard wages, as well as an outreach campaign to spur the National Mediation Board to help expedite contract negotiations.

AFA-CWA Alaska will meet with management several times over the next month to push to reach a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The next “Worldwide Day of Action” will take place at more than 30 airports on June 13.