Machinists Union Supports Bipartisan Legislation to Help Stop Passenger Assaults Against Airline Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2022 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the nation’s largest airline union, supports the recent introduction of the bipartisan bill Protection from Abusive Passengers Act (H.R. 7433, S. 4019), which would help thwart passenger assault on airline workers.

The legislation, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to create and manage a program that bars passengers who are fined or convicted of serious physical violence against airline personnel from flying. 

“We greatly appreciate congressional lawmakers for taking the rising tide of passenger assault on airline workers very seriously,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “These hard-working men and women are tasked with getting people to their destination safely, so we should always repay them by ensuring that airport and airline workers have a place that is safe for them too. I urge Congress to move swiftly to pass this legislation and give airline workers the safety and protections they deserve.” 

The legislation would also permanently ban abusive passengers from participating in the TSA PreCheck or Customs’ Global Entry programs.

This marks the latest effort by IAM transportation leadership urging lawmakers and federal agency officials to take actions to halt passenger assaults on airport and airline workers.

For example, earlier this year, the IAM joined a letter with other transportation unions, urging President Biden, U.S. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to help find solutions to thwart the rising passenger assaults.

The FAA has reported a total of 5,981 passenger incidents in 2021, which is up sharply from previous years.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, manufacturing, transit, healthcare, automotive and other industries.

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