Flight Attendant Union Calls on Industry to Back Crews with Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment and Assault
December 11, 2017
Washington, DC (December 11, 2017) — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) calls on U.S. airline CEOs to renounce the past objectification of Flight Attendants, reinforce our safety role onboard and announce zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault at the airlines.
"A national discussion on sexual assault and sexual harassment has lifted the veil on a silent epidemic in our society," said AFA President Sara Nelson. "As Flight Attendants we have a unique opportunity to join a positive dialog about the change we want to see. We must also recognize what this moment means for our careers, our flying partners and all of the people on our planes."
In an op-ed in the Washington Post over the weekend, AFA President Sara Nelson called on "airline chief executives to clearly and forcefully denounce the past objectification of flight attendants, reinforce our safety role as aviation’s first responders and pledge zero tolerance of sexual harassment and sexual assault at the airlines."
"We commend Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden who took the opportunity to learn from a recent event on an Alaska plane," said Nelson. "Instead of being critical of the victim or the Flight Attendants, he and his management team recognized this as a moment for reflection. They took swift corrective action to support the victim and support the Flight Attendants. Alaska management is now working with AFA flight attendant leaders at Alaska to address this issue in a meaningful way."
"United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz immediately responded to our Op-Ed with a public letter to all of United’s employees," said Nelson. "In the letter that is worth a full read Oscar definitively states, 'When you join the United team, or when you board a United flight, you can be sure that by doing so you are expressing your support of a company that backs up our words with our actions...We have a special responsibility to [Flight Attendants] to ensure they can do their essential work in the most positive environment possible. There is no place for sexual harassment at United, and I am asking that you all join with me in making a commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment of any of our colleagues and customers.'"
AFA calls on all other airlines to follow Alaska's and United's lead to help end sexual harassment and spread the message through aviation that in our world everyone has an equal seat at the table.
The Association of Flight Attendants is the Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 72 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.