Norwegian flight attendants in US should get US wages and benefits

Joseph Gabriel in his May 18 Congress Blog post “U.S.-based Norwegian flight attendants: Does my job not matter?” asks an important question. The answer is no; their jobs matter so much they deserve the benefits and protections provided by a negotiated contract. The problem is their executive suite does not intend to provide benefits and protections, let alone a family-supporting wage.

Norwegian Air has openly embraced the concept of staffing its operations with temporary employees working on short-term contracts with no benefits. In fact, it’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to prevent the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association (NCCA), a flight attendant union, from obtaining representation for the airline’s U.S.-based flight attendants; see Norwegian’s argument to the National Mediation Board (NMB) that its U.S.-based flight attendants do not work for Norwegian but instead for a subsidiary “employment firm.”

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In America, we call this “labor shopping.”

Over the past year, members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) have been working with the NCCA to provide comprehensive legal and technical support that was crucial to the April 19, 2016, NMB decision that Norwegian flight attendants have the right to vote for union representation under U.S. law.

The AFA stands with Norwegian flight attendants because we understand that the arguments of Norwegian and its “employment firm” represent a direct attack on the right of flight attendants to obtain union representation should they so choose. 

Norwegian’s game in establishing an Irish subsidiary to skirt the laws of Norway is a familiar one about two things only: corporate greed and trampling labor rights. This corporate game is now attempting to create a flag-of-convenience model that will destroy U.S. aviation and Joseph Gabriel’s job, along with millions of others. 

This isn’t just about U.S. aviation jobs; it’s about enforcing the Open Skies Agreement that promises good-paying aviation jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

That matters.

From Sara Nelson, international president, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Washington, D.C.


US must lead nuclear disarmament

Throughout my time as a student at American University, I have become deeply passionate about human rights, as well as the 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today that put every person at risk. It is unacceptable that the United States continues to have nuclear weapons in any capacity, not to mention on high alert, ready to be fired at a moment’s notice. These weapons create a vulnerability that looms over the security of our nation. Humanity has been shaken to its core each time the U.S. has dropped a nuclear bomb. The anguish inflicted on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is uncomfortably easy to forget, even when the consequences of such actions are so clear. 

As the first sitting president to visit the site of the atomic bombings (“Obama to make historic trip to Hiroshima,” May 10), President Obama’s upcoming visit to Hiroshima highlights the long-lasting catastrophic threat posed by nuclear weapons. However, simply giving lofty speeches and visiting Hiroshima are not sufficient steps and will not reduce the very real threat of nuclear weapons. The magnitude of this situation is too extreme to merely dabble with. As a leading nation, it is our job to take the initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate our nuclear arsenals. Obama’s trip to Hiroshima is his last chance to take a tangible step toward zero, which is why I am urging him to stand down U.S. nuclear weapons as a real step toward preventing another Hiroshima.

From Brandy Boyce, Global Zero Activist, Washington, D.C.