House Urges Security Training Rules for Flight Attendants
June 18, 2004
Bill Marks Fourth Attempt to Prod TSA
WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure aimed at ensuring that flight attendants are adequately trained to protect passengers and aircraft in the event of a terrorist attack. The provision is contained in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill passed today by a vote of 400-5.
"Flight attendants are the first and last line of defense on board an airplane," said Pat Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. "It's outrageous that Congress must keep reminding TSA to fulfill its mandate and protect the flying public."
Today's action marks the fourth time since September 11 that Congress has called on the TSA to establish meaningful flight attendant security training. Nearly three years after the terrorist attacks, TSA has repeatedly ignored the will of Congress by approving any training program, regardless of content or effectiveness. Meanwhile, airline management continues to eliminate components of this vital training without objection from TSA.
"As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I'm thrilled that my request requiring the Transportation Security Administration to issue regulations on basic flight attendant security training was included in the Homeland Security appropriations bill," said Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), author of the training language contained in the committee report sent to the House floor. "This security training will help ensure flight attendants are knowledgeable on how to properly respond to security or terrorist threats which ultimately will save lives."
Prior to the vote, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), ranking Democrat of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, forwarded a letter to the TSA signed by 152 House members expressing concern over the the agency's delay in developing guidelines and urging quick action. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), ranking Democrat of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a similar letter with 36 signatures.
More than 46,000 flight attendants join together to form AFA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.