10 Hours Rest Is Law: Implementation is Moving Now After Years of Obstruction
October 22, 2021
Our larger AFA organizational effort to secure 10 hours minimum rest under the law was successful in October 2018—closing a safety, health, and equality loophole in aviation. The prior administration did not follow congressional instruction on our 10 hours or hundreds of other safety initiatives in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, and instead put our rest into a regulatory process that was meant to kill it.
We made it clear the next President needed to make this a priority and our 10 hours minimum irreducible rest takes a big step toward implementation today. Despite the outcome of congressionally mandated fatigue studies that confirmed Flight Attendant fatigue is real and that it presents a safety and health risk, airlines have argued to the federal government that it would be too costly to implement the 10 hours minimum rest.
After the Bill passed in October 2018, AFA negotiated with some airlines to include the 10 hours rest in our contracts and was successful in getting it implemented quickly after the ratification of those agreements. But this safety issue needs to be a Federal Rule that applies across the industry, and it is even more urgent with the changes to our schedules where long days and short nights due to reduced service from COVID are prevalent.
Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put our 10 hours back on track, and after internal review with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where our Union met to press the urgency and facts about implementation at some AFA airlines, the agency sent their review back to the FAA over a month before the deadline. The minute it hit FAA Administrator Steve Dickson’s desk last night, he signed the order for a notice of our rule on rest. The rulemaking process now requires a comment period of 60 days, then the FAA will move to implement the final rule.
Fatigue is real. From President Biden to Secretary Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, and our champion Chairman Peter DeFazio, who has never stopped fighting on this – we were heard and each of these leaders worked hard to undo the efforts to kill our hard-won rest and put it back on the track to implementation. Together with TWU, APFA, IAM and ALPA, and all our allies, we will keep the heat on and press for full Federal implementation as soon as possible. The fatigue we all feel has not stopped and neither will we until this rule is fully implemented.