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World’s Largest Flight Attendant Union Celebrates 70 Years

Date: August 25, 2015

Washington, DC (August 25, 2015) – Seventy years ago, the Airline Stewardess Association was formed and began to pave the way for what is today the world’s largest Flight Attendant union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA). 

“AFA is where it all began," said AFA International President Sara Nelson. "Seventy years ago, Edith Lauterbach and fellow United Flight Attendants Ada Brown Greenfield, Francis Hall, Sally Thometz and Sally Watt Keenan were successful in organizing the first Union of Flight Attendants, the foundation from which we have achieved amazing victories for equality, workplace health and safety and contracts that define our work as aviation's first responders.”

“We’ve faced tough battles through the years, but it has only made us stronger. We are grateful to those who made our rights possible in fighting for respect, equality, recognition as first responders, job security, improved safety and the ability to negotiate and enforce our contracts." 

From fighting to end smoking on airplanes to keeping knives out of the cabin to beating back discriminatory policies against employees, AFA has led the way for all of aviation’s first responders.

“We’re proud of our history, and we will keep the vision of our founders at the forefront as we work every day to strengthen our voice by uniting all Flight Attendants,” said Nelson.


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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 70 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 50,000 Flight Attendants 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.

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