Senate Republican Seeks To Kill
Pilot And Flight Attendant Protections
February 14, 2011 - The implementation of basic safety
and health protections for flight attendants is being
threatened by a discriminatory move in the U.S. Senate
that would block safety and health provisions for
aircraft cabins and in turn jeopardize the safety of the
newly introduced amendment by Senator Rand Paul (KY)
would eliminate Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) coverage for flight attendants and
other aircrew workers from the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill being debated
in the Senate.
The initial version of the bill would extend OSHA coverage to flight attendants and other cabin crewmembers, something airline workers have been seeking for years.
|Senator Rand Paul (KY)|
the FAA has jurisdiction over health and safety in aircraft
cabins but has not created or enforced standards and
regulations, leaving flight attendants and travelers
unprotected. ?Flight attendants need to know that when they come
to work they will be protected from workplace hazards and
injuries. This amendment to strip flight attendants of their
overdue protections is harmful and an affront to the right of
workers that will only weaken public safety,? said TWU
International President James C. Little.
Sanitation, biohazards, air quality, temperature, humidity, and
noise on airplanes are just a few of the hazards that have gone
unchecked for too long. Flight attendants have higher than
average rates of workplace injury and are on the frontline of
keeping our skies safe.
Transportation Trades Department President (TTD) Edward Wytkind
says Paul?s action shows that ?he seems to believe that flight
attendants, of all people, are undeserving of basic safety and
health protections.? Flight attendants were close to getting the
long overdue protections that are guaranteed to other workers
under OSHA, but this amendment puts all that at risk.
With OSHA oversight, regulations, standards and rules would be put in place, and most importantly, enforced, which would help reduce injuries and occupational hazards such as unclean air or unsatisfactory sanitation. Flight attendants need protections like proper sanitation standards and clean up procedures.
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) spoke from the floor of the Senate last
Tuesday in support of the bill to provide a permanent reauthorization
for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after 17 short-term
extensions. He said that the ?promise of jobs, consumer and traveler
protections, home grown technological innovation and reductions in fuel
consumption and greenhouse gas pollution could not come at a better
time.? The airline industry accounts for nearly 11 million
economy is recovering from the worst economic recession in decades.
Critical to getting our economy moving forward and getting Americans
back to work is building an efficient and modern intermodal
transportation system. I strongly support the FAA reauthorization, which
will create 280,000 jobs in airports around the country. As the first
bill we have taken up in the new Congress, it demonstrates our focus in
the Senate on job creation and our commitment to help get Americans back
dedicated employees of the FAA face the daunting task of marshalling
thousands of aircraft, and the air travelers on those planes, across the
country from airports and airfields both large and small located in
nearly every corner of the U.S. Critical to maintaining the safest skies
in the world will be federal investment in and deployment of the ?Next
Gen? Flight Guidance System that will use cutting-edge technology to cut
travel times and reduce costs by directing shorter routes that use less
fuel and generate less pollution, helping flying consumers and the
?I support the Passengers? Bill of Rights which is incorporated into this bill. No one should ever be forced to stay aboard a plane on the tarmac for extended periods of time. I also applaud the provisions that provide consumers with better information about the wide range of fees airlines and airports impose upon the flying public. Travelers are flying less thanks to the poor economy and this has hurt the airline industry. As a result, airlines have resorted to charging a variety of fees for services on each flight. Unfortunately, these fees often hit customers by surprise after they are already committed to getting on their airplane.
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