Welcome to AFA Government Affairs
Since the founding of the Association of Flight Attendants 65 years ago, it has been our union’s goal to improve the working conditions and lives of all flight attendants. We have fought to make the flight attendant job a safe, secure and respected career. Much of the time, this fight takes place with our employers at the bargaining table. However, as workers in an industry that is heavily regulated by the federal government, decisions that affect flight attendants’ daily lives and working conditions are also made in the halls of Congress and by government agencies.
As flight attendants we work in one of the most heavily regulated professions and industries in the United States. Working conditions onboard our aircraft, duty rest limitations, cabin inspectors and other federal regulations are enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (a federal agency). That is why it is our responsibility to raise our voices to influence the outcome of legislative and regulatory debates.
AFA-CWA firmly believes that it is important for us to have a voice and a presence in Washington, D.C., and to have a seat at the table in Congress when decisions that impact our lives are being made.
As the AFA-CWA established a strong presence in Washington, D.C.. and around the country, influencing policy that impacts our profession and industry the AFA-CWA Board of directors established a full time Government Affairs Department in 1983 to work with the Government Affairs Committees at all AFA-represented airlines.
Through the AFA-CWA government affairs committees, hundreds of flight attendants have been trained as grassroots lobbyists for our profession. These dedicated individuals may travel to Washington, D.C. to walk the halls of Congress and advocate for the issues that affect flight attendants or attend meeting with their Representatives near their homes. It is the rank and file members of AFA-CWA who work on the aircraft every day who can best explain what issues matter to flight attendants. Together, with the constant support of AFA-CWA’s professional staff, we are our own best advocates.
As the world’s largest flight attendant union - and the only one that represents a cross-section of our entire profession - AFA-CWA is known on Capitol Hill and by all decision makers in Washington, D.C. as the authority on Flight Attendant issues.
For decades, members of Congress and the federal government have not only respected our knowledge of the industry, but have turned to us in times of crisis – as did then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta after September 11th, when he appointed the AFA-CWA International to the DOT Rapid Response Team for Aircraft Security.
At times the Government Affairs Committees will work with the carries that employee or members on issues which mutually benefit flight attendants and the carrier. We have successfully partnered with management on securing stabilization funds for the industry after 9/11 and in many instances lobbied with our management on securing foreign routes and gaining access to slot controlled airports. These coordinated lobby efforts are centered on securing more jobs for AFA-CWA members and ensuring the financial stability of our industry.
Our Government Affairs Department and committee structure strives to promote the following philosophy – wherever possible we should try to legislate rather than negotiate. Our recent battle on FMLA is a perfect example. While AFA successfully negotiated FMLA-type leaves for most of our members; this was a recurring topic of discussion each time the various contracts became amendable. By working with Congress to write the FMLA bill, AFA as able to codify this provision into law and remove this issue from the bargaining presses. In addition to FMLA, other issues we’ve removed from the bargaining table include: Seniority Integration, non-discrimination based on martial status, pregnancy, age and sex; drug and alcohol rehabilitation; mandatory drug testing and flight attendant training requirements.
AFA uses the legislative process to educate Congress, through testimony or partnership with Government agencies and the public on issues in the flight attendant workplace such as child restraint seats, portable electronic devices, cabin air quality, aviation jobs outsourcing, workplace discrimination issues, carry-on baggage, flight attendant fatigue, mergers, bankruptcy, pensions, OSHA, and aircraft accidents and incidents survivability.
Page Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013 (12:30:13)