Rand Paul Attacks Flight Attendants’ Safety

| by AFL-CIO

With some 280,000 jobs at stake in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, you’d think Senate lawmakers would be working together to get those jobs in the pipeline as soon as possible. Not.

First Republicans used the bill as vehicle for their near pathological obsession to repeal health care reform. Now, with the support of most of his Republican colleagues, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants to use the bill to take away workplace safety and health rights  for flight attendants–and in effect put passengers at risk as well.

The bill extends Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) protection to flight attendants and other air crew, something air crew workers have been seeking for decades. Paul’s amendment would cut those protections from the FAA bill. Currently, workplace safety standards and enforcement falls to the FAA. Flight Attendants (AFA/CWA) President Veda Shook says:

To date, OSHA has been kept out of the aircraft cabin and that means Flight Attendants and passengers are subject to an environment absent sanitation standards, temperature standards and proper procedures for clean up of bio hazards. This is inexcusable.

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.”

Sanitation, air quality, temperature and humidity levels, noise and blood borne pathogens on airplanes are just a few of the hazards that have gone unchecked for too long.  Flight attendants have an on-the-job injury rate that is far higher than the national average. And remember, flight attendants aren’t the only ones on aircraft—millions of Americans fly every day and they will benefit as well from enforcement of safety standards

Click here for more information from AFA/CWA.