Worker Power Update
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens Visits the White House for FMLA’s 30th Anniversary
Last week, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens attended a White House event marking the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Since its passage, the legislation has given American workers the right to take time to care for themselves and their loved ones without losing their jobs. In the early 1990’s, CWA members and coalition partners mobilized to build support for the legislation. The original FMLA was passed in 1993 by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Flight Attendants originally rarely qualified for FMLA due to their unique schedules. Since the way they are paid for hours of work is particular to the airline industry, their schedules don’t equate to a traditional 40-hour work week. Therefore, it was virtually impossible to meet the minimum number of hours originally established under the FMLA. From 2007 through 2009, AFA-CWA activists and their supporters embarked on a massive grassroots campaign to change that. Thousands of members wrote letters, made calls, rallied, and participated in other actions to demand lawmakers support the legislation that would correct this oversight. Due to their actions, the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act was passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Last year, the law was further solidified when a Federal Court ruled that FMLA eligibility for Flight Attendants is based on hours worked or paid and not just flight hours.
Unfortunately, FMLA still does not cover all workers and it is not paid leave. The United States is one of the few countries in the world with zero national paid leave. Send a letter to Congress telling them that we need national paid leave for all and to pass the Job Protection Act to expand job-protected leave to more workers.
CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens (left) attended a White House event marking the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).