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Airline Workers Seek Aid in Wartime

Date: March 17, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC – Flight attendant representatives in Washington, DC are asking lawmakers to consider the economic and human effects of the predicted 70,000 additional airline job cuts expected if the United States attacks Iraq.

The Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, is lobbying on Capitol Hill for aid to protect American workers in wartime.

“War will devastate airline workers, not just the airlines,” said AFA International President Patricia Friend. “The media and the debate in Congress are focusing on the protection of corporate assets in wartime. Congress bailed out airline management once already and still 150,000 airline workers were laid off. While our airlines need help, lawmakers must also have the courage to assist needy American workers who have families to house and feed.”

Helping airline workers hurt in wartime will provide a stimulus to the struggling economy. The flight attendants are seeking:
  • Extended unemployment benefits for six months.
  • Health care coverage that would pay 75% of an eligible worker’s COBRA continuation or temporary state Medicaid coverage for those not covered under COBRA.
  • Job retraining assistance.

Since the threat of a new attack on U.S. commercial aircraft is likely to increase during war, flight attendants are also seeking to protect citizens and the air transportation system in wartime. To maintain the confidence of the flying public, Congress must also immediately pass legislation to:

  • Fund and implement comprehensive crewmember training to protect the people in the aircraft cabin and
  • Close back door access to airports and aircraft before this gap in security is exploited by a terrorist.

More than 50,000 flight attendants at 26 airlines join together to form AFA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. Visit us @ www.afanet.org.

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