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Flight Attendants Call for Real Regulatory Oversight as Muilenburg Departs

Date: December 27, 2019

 Washington, D.C. (December 23, 2019)

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson and Transportation Workers Union Local 556 President Lyn Montgomery, together representing 70,000 Flight Attendants, released the following statement on the resignation of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg:

“The resignation of Dennis Muilenburg is long overdue. The Boeing 737 MAX grounding was the result of not only tragedy, but also a loss of public trust. Boeing has engaged earnestly with Flight Attendants over the past year and recognized the critical importance of our trust in the aircraft that is our workplace. But real change requires humility, transparency, and leadership that demonstrates a willingness to change.

“Safety must always come first. We have all learned enough over the past year to understand that pressures from Wall Street led to decisions that mean chairs are empty around the tables of 346 families this holiday. Thousands of other families are worried about their ability to provide for their loved ones. It is not right that the good people on the frontlines of Boeing are hurting and facing uncertainty because of failed leadership. Our members are experiencing this same uncertainty as airlines jettison flight plans.

“It is finally a step in the right direction that those charged with oversight of Boeing are signaling a more serious approach to regaining trust with the departure of Muilenburg. Boeing is filled with talented people who can, with the right leadership and regulatory oversight, regain the trust of Flight Attendants and the traveling public. But leadership is key and today is the first real signal that those in charge of our great American aerospace company are serious about Boeing’s long-term success.

“We recognize the strong leadership of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and the efforts of FAA Administrator Steve Dickson to scrutinize missteps and push back against pressures to rush recertification.

“Finally, we call upon all lawmakers to prioritize real government oversight in aircraft certification. Provide regulators the resources and direction necessary to reclaim America’s rightful place in the world as the standard bearer of aviation safety, competence, and honesty in governance of aviation. Self-regulation by the aviation industry is a failed strategy. As we are experiencing now, it is deadly. And ultimately it threatens the success of American business and harms American workers and our families. Enough. Let today be a turning point and a moment of humility for change based on lessons learned.

“Safety first. Always. Full stop.”

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO represents 50,000 Flight Attendants at 20 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 74 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

TWU Local 556 represents 17,000 Flight Attendants at Southwest Airlines. Local 556’s parent union, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), AFL-CIO, represents 200,000 workers and retirees in commercial aviation, public transportation and passenger railroads. Visit us at twu556.org.

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