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Flight attendant union endorses Biden

Flight attendant union endorses Biden
© Greg Nash

A top flight attendant union endorsed Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Five things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs MORE for president on Tuesday while the air travel industry pleads for relief from Congress and the administration.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA), which has been advocating for aid for the airlines to prevent further furlough and layoffs of their members, issued an emotional message in support for Biden.

“This is not just an endorsement. This is our lives. People are losing their homes right now; falling ill and unable to get another job without access to routine medical care that keeps chronic illness at bay and allows them to otherwise live a normal life; moving their children and all the belongings they can fit into their cars and trying to survive as single parents or two parents out of work,” Sara Nelson, the AFA's international president, said in a statement. 

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The AFA, airlines, and other unions have lobbied for a $25 billion injection from Congress to extend the Payroll Support Program, which prevented airlines from furloughing employees until Oct. 1. On Oct. 1, without Congress extending the program through another aid package, furloughs of tens of thousands of employees began.

“We won’t be able to retroactively restore the lives taken as the despair becomes too great. These are the very real experiences of Flight Attendants we represent and it didn’t have to be this way,” Nelson said.

Nelson said in 2014 she worked with then-Vice President Biden’s office to stop the spread of a communicable disease.

“It worked and together - government, industry, and unions - we kept people safe. The expertise and leadership put in place came directly out of Vice President Biden’s office. Not only did we have a domestic plan, the United States of America used our resources and expertise to go to the source of the contagion and help contain it before it spread throughout the world,” Nelson said.

Nelson also noted that Biden is a proponent of the Labor Department implementing an emergency temporary standard to combat the pandemic and front-line workers getting priority access to personal protective equipment and testing. 

The AFA endorsed then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Groups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE in 2016. It represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines. 

The endorsement followed a key endorsement from North America’s Building Trades Unions, which includes 14 unions representing nearly 3 million workers, last week.