IAM Flight Attendants, Customer Service Agents Continue Capitol Hill Fights

IAM Flight Attendants hit Capitol Hill demanding a mandatory 10 hour rest period be added to the FAA Reauthorization bill.

IAM Flight Attendants from across the country joined hundreds of other cabin crew members from multiple unions on Capitol Hill for a “Rally for Rest” which visited all 541 Congressional offices last week in an effort to mandate 10 hours rest for the Flight Attendants, the same amount allotted to pilots in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill.

The IAM was also pushing for language making assault against Customer Service Agents a felony, as it is with in-cabin crew.

On the same day as the rally, International President Bob Martinez asked IAM political activists at the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League Conference to contact their representatives in the Senate and demand the respect for brothers and sisters in the air and at the ticket counter.

“The time is now to make our government work for us,” said Martinez. “Our Flight Attendants and Customer Service Agents deserve the protections we demand in the FAA Reauthorization Bill.”

The Senate, however, did not adopt the bi-partisan language of 10 hours minimum rest and allowed “reasonable flexibility from airline” for the rest period to be reduced to nine hours. The IAM and other supporters were able to secure the Fatigue Risk Management Plan through the amendment process.

“The studies have been done, the pilots already received the very same protections we are asking for,” said IAM District 142 General Chair Sara Gonzales. “It’s time for Congress to recognize Flight Attendants for their role as aviation’s first responders.”

The Senate version also did not include any protections for Customer Service Agents, instead calling for a study, even though the IAM provided Congress numerous reports of violent assaults on Customer Service Agents, which under the IAM-proposed language would be considered felonies.

Watch IAM Flight Attendants explain why they need 10 hours rest.

The IAM is working tirelessly to get the 10 hour minimum rest and Customer Service Agent felony assault language added to the Senate bill when it reaches the Senate floor within the next few weeks.

Here’s how you can help:

Flight Attendant Rest

The Senate bill in its current form does NOT adequately prescribe minimum rest requirements for chronically fatigued flight attendants. The language agreed to in the House FAA bill is the preferred course and should be adopted. We strongly urge Senators to include the House language in its version of the FAA bill when it’s considered.

Call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators.

Customer Service Agent Assault

Please urge you Senator to support an amendment to the FAA bill that makes it a felony to assault a Customer Service Agent while on duty.

Call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators.