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Homeland Security Subcommittee Conducts Aviation Security Hearing Without Flight Attendant Experience

Date: April 8, 2013

Key Stakeholder Perspective Missing at TSA Policy Hearing

Washington, DC – The Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions, representing nearly 90,000 Flight Attendants, questions the validity of an aviation security hearing focused on the ‘perspectives of stakeholders’ that fails to include the experience of our nation’s Flight Attendants.  A representative of America’s Flight Attendants will not testify before the House Transportation Security Subcommittee’s upcoming hearing entitled: “TSA’s Efforts to Advance Risk-Based Security: Stakeholder Perspectives.” The hearing is scheduled to be held on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 1:00pm.

Flight Attendants are particularly concerned about TSA Administrator John Pistole’s recent announcement of a forthcoming policy change to allow knives through airport security for the first time since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The policy is set to take effect on April 25.

In the years since those horrific attacks, the Flight Attendant role as aviation’s first responders has come to include the final layer of security on board the aircraft. Despite this crucial role, Administrator Pistole did not consult Flight Attendants prior to announcing his sweeping policy change. In a hearing last month, Administrator Pistole admitted that he “could have done a better job bringing [stakeholders] in earlier” to TSA’s decision-making process.

In a letter to subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson dated April 3, 2013, the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions requested the opportunity to testify on the hearing’s witness panel regarding the critical functions Flight Attendants perform in the day-to-day effort to secure America’s aviation system and the role their organization should play in the formation of transportation security policy. The “Stakeholder Perspectives” hearing would have been an optimum opportunity for Flight Attendants to contribute to the policy discussion.

The Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions will continue to push for legislation to reverse this dangerous decision. Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) have introduced the “No Knives Act” in the House and Flight Attendants are working on legislation in the Senate. A budget amendment offered by Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Murkowski (R-AK) signaled bipartisan support in the Senate for legislation that would maintain the ban on knives in the aircraft cabin.

Contacts: Corey Caldwell, AFA-CWA, ccaldwell@afanet.org; Jamie Horwitz, TWU, media@twu.org; Leslie Mayo, APFA, communications@apfa.org; James Carlson, IAM, jcarlson@iamaw.org; Galen Munroe, IBT, gmunroe@teamster.org.

The Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions coordinates on issues of mutual interest to Flight Attendants. Members of the Coalition are the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Transport Workers Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Together, the Coalition represents 90,000 Flight Attendants.

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