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CWA Advocacy Secures Big Wins in FAA Reauthorization Bill

Last week, following months of prolonged advocacy by transportation unions, including CWA, President Biden signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2024 into law.

The five-year bill includes language to protect the 20,000 CWA-represented passenger service agents across American Airlines and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Piedmont and Envoy, as well as the 50,000 Flight Attendants across 20 airlines represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) from the dangers and hazards they face on a daily basis.

At the end of 2022, Courtney Edwards, a member of CWA Local 3645, was killed after a tragic on-the-job accident on the ramp. Edwards’ death was the second ramp fatality in five years. In 2019, Kendrick Hudson, also a member of Local 3645, was also killed in a tragic on-the-job accident. As a result of advocacy from CWA and its members, the legislation now directs the FAA to issue a safety review of airport ramp operations and hazards, including the risks of engine ingestion and jet blast zones. The FAA will now also publish training materials related to these hazards for ground crews.

Regarding above-the-wing workers, the FAA Reauthorization of 2024 provides new protections to prevent assaults against passenger service agents. Going forward, those who assault airport or air carrier employees—including those performing ticketing, check-in, baggage claim, or boarding functions—will face the same penalties as those who assault security personnel.

For Flight Attendants, the bill addresses other safety-critical issues, including clean air on flights, temperatures on planes, updates to crewmember self-defense training, improving aircraft evacuation standards, and the ability to safely pump breast milk as a pilot or Flight Attendant, along with many other important labor provisions for Flight Attendants.

Passengers and airline workers rely on a safe, dependent air transportation system, and the advocacy from CWA and other transportation unions produced a strong bill that secured authorization with key safety initiatives for the next five years.


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