Senate Republican Seeks To Kill Pilot And Flight Attendant Protections


  Bookmark and Share

Senate Republican Seeks To Kill Pilot And Flight Attendant Protections

By Daniel Baxter

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 traveling public.  

A 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)

Currently, 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.  

AFL-CIO 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.


U.S. Senator 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 U.S. jobs and $1.2 trillion in annual economic activity. 

?Our nation?s 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 to work. 

?Every day, 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 environment. 

?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.


?Last Congress, I introduced legislation to ensure that air travelers were made well aware of all the fees they were being charged to fly. The Passengers? Bill of Rights goes a long way to improving the user experience for air travelers and will also help restore lost consumer confidence. I look forward to working with colleagues to make sure that the issue of surprise fees also is adequately addressed. 

?Lastly, I think it is important to acknowledge the thousands of hardworking pilots, flight attendants and other members of the nation?s flight crews. Without their service, air travel would not be possible. I am pleased that several of the labor organizations that represent so many hardworking Americans in the aviation industry support this bill, particularly the important worker safety provisions this legislation provides workers in the aviation industry.?

Other News Stories


Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ?AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator