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United AFA MEC Human Rights and Equity Committee

Date: June 6, 2023

A welcome and introduction to our AFA siblings from the newly-elected Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the United MEC Human Rights and Equity (HRE) Committee:

We would like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and this new MEC Committee. The United MEC Human Rights and Equity (HRE) Committee was established by the United MEC at the Winter MEC Meeting this past January. Elections to fill the two Committee positions happened on April 19th during the Spring MEC Meeting. Emily Caulfield (Council 63) and Tara Cattell (Council 21) were elected as the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, respectively, for a three-year term beginning in July 2023.

The work of this Committee includes:

  • The ongoing study of matters related to the strengthening of our Union through the promotion of and support for economic, racial, and social justice equity for all workers;
  • Recommendations for participation by our MEC and LECs with minority, women’s, and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community organizations and coalitions which aim to eliminate discrimination and racism;
  • Recommendations for creating safe spaces within our Union for people to share their personal experiences in relation to age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, gender expression and political orientation so that we better understand each other and build our Union through our common struggles and goals, rather than allowing union busters to divide us by differences;
  • Recommendations for educational materials and resources relevant to civil and human rights issues that affect our Members and communities;
  • Recommendations on how to facilitate training around the issues of Human Rights and Equity; and
  • Developing a productive working relationship with the company to ensure they are committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace for all Flight Attendants.

We are committed to supporting the local HRE Committees that have been created as well as assisting in the creation of a local HRE Committee at each Council. Our aim is to get everyone who wants to be a part of an HRE Committee involved, and by utilizing their individual skills, backgrounds, and passions, we can create a movement within our Union that is intersectional, reflecting the diversity of our workforce. We encourage Member participation through volunteering to start or support a local HRE Committee, providing us with your feedback and personal stories, attending future events and trainings, and spreading the word of this new Committee to fellow Union Members. We look forward to working on the issues of human rights and equity which are affecting our fellow Flight Attendants.

An important part of identifying and setting goals for this Committee relies on gathering data from as many of our Members as possible. One way we accomplish this is by conducting surveys We will continue to put surveys out to ensure that we are listening to you. Some of you may recall the Uniform Gender Expression Survey that was announced and became available in August of 2022. If you have not had an opportunity to participate, it’s not too late. Click here to take the survey.

Chairperson: Emily Caulfield (she/her) - Emily has been flying for United for 11 years. She has been an elected Council Representative at her Local Council since June of 2022. In the fall, she formed a local Human Rights and Equity Committee. In January of this year, she helped write the agenda item for the formation of this Committee at the MEC level. Emily’s lived experience as a Member of the LGBTQ+ community fuels her advocacy efforts to make the workplace feel safer and more inclusive for queer people. She is passionate and driven in ensuring that all Flight Attendants have access to fair and equal treatment. Emily can be reached anytime at ECaulfield@unitedafa.org.

Vice Chairperson: Tara Cattell (they/them) - Tara is relatively new to flying, having started on the line in July 2022. Before becoming a Flight Attendant, they worked in human rights, social work, and legal advocacy. Tara has a B.A. in International Studies, with a focus on international human rights and conflict studies. They have previously worked as a legal researcher on human rights cases before a UN working group, as a sexual assault survivor advocate at their local crisis center, as a paralegal on civil cases on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, as a support coordinator for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities, as well as a campaigner and activist for civil rights causes and nonprofit organizations. Tara is a white, pansexual, nonbinary flight attendant who is passionate about obtaining equal rights in regards to being able to identify as nonbinary on their employee profile and having equal access to obtaining their uniform of choice, as well as working toward a safe and equitable workplace for all trans, nonbinary, and gender-diverse employees. Tara approaches their work with an intersectional, trauma-informed, and person-centered focus.

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