Flight attendants campaigning at airports for ‘clean’ FAA bill

Members of the union representing flight attendants are fanning out to airports this week to ask airline passengers to pressure lawmakers to pass a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration when they come back from vacation, officials from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said this week.

Union members are distributing information about the recent partial shutdown of the FAA, which they say was caused by House Republicans to make it harder for transportation workers to unionize.

{mosads}The short-term bill to end the FAA shutdown earlier this month only funds the agency through Sept. 16, and AFA President Veda Shook said Thursday the fight over tying the agency’s funding to labor issues will be back to square one.

“Delta Air Lines executives and their Congressional sock puppets are only 30 days away from again shutting down the FAA, and sending tens of thousands of hard working Americans back to the unemployment line,” Shook said in a statement. “We want to let the traveling public know the ‘Countdown to Shutdown’ is on once again, and it does not have to be.”

About 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed for nearly two weeks when
negotiations on a funding bill for the agency broke down last month.

With the possibility of another shutdown, the AFA said its members were distributing fliers about the FAA funding situation at San Francisco International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, North Carlina’s Charlotte Douglass International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Portland International Airport this week.

The bill to end the last impasse over the FAA, which was approved in early August, was a temporary measure because a larger bill had become ensnared in a fight about an effort by House Republican to roll back changes to union election rules made last year by the National Mediation Board.

The NMB change defines the electorate in union elections as the number of workers who cast ballots. Previously, non-votes were counted as no votes, which union officials have argued is undemocratic.

But Shook said flight attendants would be arguing at the airports that the place for that fight was not the FAA bill.

“Our members — the First Responders in the airline industry — are joining their customers to make it clear they want jobs, not political games,” Shook said. “Everyone in America, except apparently for Delta Air Lines executives and John Mica, wants a long-term FAA Reauthorization bill that improves our aviation infrastructure, grows our economy and delivers hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”


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