In a historic victory for worker and consumer safety, the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly on Wednesday by a vote of 93-6 with the inclusion of critical provisions that protect passenger service agents from assault and increase to 10 hours the minimum rest for Flight Attendants.
For more than a decade, CWA passenger service agents have been fighting to strengthen protections against passenger assaults. Their personal stories and recommendations as they presented them to Congress and officials at the Department of Transportation, FAA, and Transportation Security Administration shaped the provisions included in the final legislation.
"CWA's passenger service agents shared their personal stories of assaults by passengers and how this impacted their safety and that of their colleagues," said Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of CWA District 3 and Chair of CWA's Passenger Service Airline Council. "Members of Congress took to heart their experience and recommendations as they shaped the final language in the bill. Addressing this issue in the FAA Reauthorization bill was long overdue."
The FAA Reauthorization bill also included a major win for consumers and Flight Attendants who are on the frontline as first responders in emergency situations in flight. The inclusion of an increase of the minimum rest time from eight to ten hours for Flight Attendants has been the top safety priority for AFA-CWA's 50,000 Flight Attendants. This change brings the Flight Attendant rest time into alignment with the minimum rest time for their flight deck counterparts.
"The inclusion of the increased rest time for Flight Attendants closes a safety loophole," said Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA International President. "Congressional fatigue studies have confirmed this was a safety and health issue, but this also is about equality. Our largely female dominated profession now has parity with pilots in our minimum rest period."