Paula Jacobson, MEC Chair
Our industry is heavily regulated, and for that reason it's important to have a voice on Capitol Hill, so that the lawmakers enacting those regulations know what is important to flight attendants.
The Government Affairs Committee sponsors many activities that further flight attendant issues.
- Spreading the word when important legislation is up for vote and you need to call your Representative or Senator.
- Assisting members with voter registration.
- Assisting members with Early Voting or Absentee Balloting, since our work schedules can affect our ability to get to the polls.
- Encouraging voluntary participation in Flight PAC - a fund that supports political candidates that have proven their support of flight attendant issues. AFA supports candidates that support flight attendant issues, regardless of party affiliation!
Getting Closer on Rest
We are making progress on 10 hrs of rest made into law soon.
Rest Bill in the senate:
a Flight Attendant scheduled to a duty period of 14 hours or less is given a scheduled rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours. EXCEPTION.—The rest period required under 6subsection (b) may be scheduled or reduced to 9 consecutive hours if the flight attendant is provided a subsequent rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours. (no less than 1 year after enacted)
Rest Bill in the house:
IN GENERAL.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall modify the final rule of the Federal Aviation Administration published in the Federal Register on August 19, 1994 (2) —The final rule, as modified under paragraph, shall ensure that— (A) a flight attendant scheduled to a duty period of 14 hours or less is given a scheduled rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours; and (B) the rest period is not reduced under any circumstances.
What does this mean?
These bills are not similar and this means they will have to go to a committee of the House and Senate in order to make them the same. One positive note is that both ensure that a Fatigue Risk Management Program (FRMP) be in place. Remember, because of AFA, we have a FRMP but this will cement this practice in law, and have all airlines participate.
In other Good News, Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) author of the Senate version on Flight Attendant rest, recommended in the Senate hearing last week, that she wants her bill to mirror the house bill, and to be more in-line with the pilots. Calls are still needed to your Senators to ensure that our message of being treated equally without reduction in rest is heard.
Other items that were passed
Many other amendments were added in the FAA reauthorization bill, in both Houses of Congress, that may affect us in future years within the cabin. Some items may have different versions in the House and Senate and will have to go to a joint committee for negotiations. In committee, some items (listed below) may not be placed in the final version of the FAA reauthorization as impasse may happen. We will continually update you on the status. The House and Senate are really pushing for the goal of Sept 30th, 2017 to wrap everything up and by all means, do not want another extension on the FAA reauthorization.
Please note: If something doesn’t make it into the final FAA reauthorization, some of these items can be made into individual bills at a future date. These are just a few of the items that may impact us and are not final.
- Improved notification of insecticide use in cabin
- Banning voice calls on planes
- Review of evacuation Standards
- Human Trafficking training expanded
- Seat Pitch and safety reform
- Secondary Flight Deck barrier
- Study of in-flight wheelchair restraint system
- Consumers with disability study (on board aircraft)
- Nursing rooms available at airports (does not go around state laws that protect fas to have nursing rooms available by their employer.)
- Study on Hims program (similar to FADAP -Flight Attendant Drug and Alcohol Program, HIMS is Alpa version )
- Ion-lithium batteries carried by passengers in cargo and cabin
- Mothers’ rooms at airports. (for medium and large airports/similar to House version )
- Safe transportation of lithium cells and batteries. (similar to House version)
- Review of cabin Evacuation procedures (similar to House version)
- Passengers with disabilities/wheelchairs (similar to House version)
- Review of Involuntary changes to passengers itineraries
- Airlines will have to disclose all baggage fee, cancellation fee, change fee, ticketing fee, and seat selection fee to all passengers purchasing a ticket
- Advance boarding during pregnancy
- Study of in-flight wheelchair system (similar to House version)
- Study on Minimum Seat pitch (similar to House version)
- Mishandling of wheelchairs in cargo
- No cell-phone calls in aircraft cabins (similar to House version )
- Study of violence on airline employees from passengers
- Secondary barriers of the flight deck (similar to House version)
- Tickets ACT for passengers
What Happened March 8th 2017
On Wednesday, March 8th, Sara Nelson, International President of the Assoc of Flight Attendants testified in front of Congress to advocate for Flight Attendant rights. Some of the topics that were discussed at the hearing was the fight for minimum 10hrs rest, regional pay,#denynai, and phones on planes.(cell phone calls)
The FAA Reauthorization deadline is set for September 30,2017. Congress wants to get these items passed and sent to the Presidents’ Desk before that deadline.
The House Aviation subcommittee sent out an e-mail address asking for feedback from the aviation community.
Let’s step up and let our leaders in Washington know what it’s like to be a Regional Flight Attendant. This is important for our elected leaders to hear from Flight Attendants. Take a moment to write to the email address below and tell them the following:
- Explain your work environment (6 legs a day 14 hour days can be extended to 16).
- Explain your wages, benefits etc.
- Let them know that you need 10 hours rest with no reduction in rest, No phone calls on planes, DenyNAI, and we need better regional pay.
Just as a reminder, keep your professional and concise. Think of this as a wishlist to your leaders in Congress, and what FAR’S would you like changed. Congress can hear from lobby groups, in fancy suits, that don’t wear the uniform, and which absolutely do not represent our needs as front-line employees. If you would like an AFA government affairs rep, or union rep, to forward your story on to Congress and be left anonymous please feel free to forward info, we would be more than happy to do that. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEC 45 LGA/JFK
LEC 46 ATL/DTW
Jean Machak - email@example.com
LEC 48 MSP
Trina Bach-Johnson - LEC Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaela Berg - email@example.com