AFA International President Discusses Aviation Security With Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano
March 21, 2012
One-on-One Meeting Emphasizes Flight Attendants' Role as First Responders
Washington, DC - Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International President Veda Shook today engaged in a meaningful dialogue with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on several aviation security issues that directly affect the valuable role of Flight Attendants as first responders and the last line of defense on board the aircraft.
Highlighting the need for enhanced security training for Flight Attendants and a standardized carry-on bag policy, AFA also reiterated the importance of adding Flight Attendants to the Known Crewmember program. Since the inception of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 in response to the September 11th attacks, AFA has been a key partner in aviation security.
"Aviation security remains of critical concern for our country and, as front line safety and security professionals, Flight Attendants play a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of passengers and crew inside the aircraft cabin. AFA has long worked alongside industry experts in identifying measures that would help to enhance safety and we are grateful for the opportunity to discuss these important aspects with Secretary Napolitano," said Shook.
Also today, AFA International Vice President Sara Nelson continued the discussion before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. During the high-profile hearing on increasing the efficiency of aviation security, Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) repeatedly stressed the importance of the Known Crewmember program and the need to include Flight Attendants as equal partners in the process.
"We expect to be included in the Known Crewmember program as part of the larger, risk-based initiatives that focus on security while making screening more convenient. The 9/11 Commission Act mandated inclusion of all crewmembers. We are subject to the same 10-year background checks as pilots and we are charged with protecting the flight deck at all costs, including the loss of our own lives. The nation's certified Flight Attendants, serving as the last line of defense, surely meet the requirements of the Known Crewmember program and the time is now for implementation," testified Nelson.
The Association of Flight Attendants is the world's largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for over 65 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.