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Flight Attendants Push Bill for FMLA Leave at Minnesota Caucuses

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Deeply involved in the process that will determine both major parties' nominees for president, four Northwest Airlines flight attendants went a step further, lobbying their Minnesota state caucuses on Feb. 5 to make FMLA leave more accessible to flight crews.

Northwest AFA-CWA members Camilla Wokerstorfer, Julienne Wycoff and Sandee Russell participated in separate Democratic precinct caucuses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Their colleague Robin Wimmer attended a Republican caucus in Minneapolis. Each convinced her precinct caucus to adopt a resolution of support for H.R. 2744/S. 2059, the Airline Crew Family and Medical Leave Act.

The bill clarifies the formula under which flight attendants and pilots qualify for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take into consideration the unique way their hours are tracked in the airline industry.

"Robin, Julienne, Sandee and Camilla should be applauded for their dedicated commitment and courage to make their voice heard in our fight to improve our profession," said AFA-CWA President Pat Friend.

Sen. Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won their parties' respective caucuses in Minnesota; now the flight attendants want to make sure they come out winners too.

"We're going to have to chase this a little," Wokerstorfer said. "We also became delegates for our precincts and want to follow this through to make sure it's put in the parties' platforms."

So far, AFA-CWA has generated more than 7,000 e-mails and 20,000 hand-signed letters to members of Congress in support of the legislation, securing the bipartisan support of 171 representatives and eight senators. To send an e-mail, visit www.afanet.org.