Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Posts Tagged ‘AFA-CWA’

New Survey Shows Sexual Harassment a Pervasive Problem for Flight Attendants

Friday, May 11th, 2018

AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson discussed the scope of the problem:

While much of the coverage of the #MeToo movement has focused on high-profile cases in the entertainment industry and politics, this survey underscores why AFA has long been pushing to eradicate sexism and harassment within our own industry. The time when flight attendants were objectified in airline marketing and people joked about ‘coffee, tea, or me’ needs to be permanently grounded. #TimesUp for the industry to put an end to its sexist past.

Nelson noted that the problems associated with the harassment go beyond the harm caused to the flight attendants:

Flight attendants are first responders. Their authority when responding to emergencies is undermined when they are belittled and harassed. Likewise, harassment makes it more difficult for flight attendants to intervene when passengers are harassed by other passengers. Flight attendants must be confident that airline executives will back them up when they respond to and report harassment of crew and passengers.

Here are some of the key facts uncovered by the survey:

  • 68% of flight attendants have experienced sexual harassment during their flying careers.
  • 35% experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers in the past year. 
  • Of those who have experienced verbal sexual harassment in the past year, 68% faced it three or more times, and one-third five or more times.
  • Flight attendants describe the verbal sexual harassment as comments that are “nasty, unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive and dirty.” They also report being subjected to passengers’ explicit sexual fantasies, propositions, request for sexual “favors” and pornographic videos and pictures.
  • 18% experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the past year. 
  • Of those who experienced physical sexual harassment in the past year, more than 40% of those suffered physical abuse three or more times.
  • Flight attendants said the physical sexual harassment included having their breasts, buttocks and crotch area “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed and fondled” both on top of and under their uniforms. Other abuse included passengers cornering or lunging at them followed by unwanted hugs, kisses and humping.
  • Only 7% of the flight attendants who experienced sexual harassment reported it to their employer. 
  • 68% of flight attendants say they haven’t noticed any employer efforts over the past year to address sexual harassment at work. According to AFA-CWA, airlines Alaska, United and Spirit have led the industry in addressing this issue.

This blog was originally published at AFL-CIO on May 11, 2018. Reprinted with permission. 

About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist. Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012, he worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.

Airline Unions Respond to Asiana Crash in San Francisco

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Kenneth QuinnellOn Saturday, July 6, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing in San Francisco, leading to two deaths and more than 100 injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the cause of the tragedy.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) issued a statement in response to the crash:

“This event makes us pause. Regardless of carrier or country borders, events such as this call instant attention to our common bond with other Flight Attendants and those who serve in our industry. The safety and security of our flights is our highest priority as we look after each other and the passengers in our care. This is the primary purpose of our job, our training and our certification. Events such as these shed a sober light on our critical contribution to air travel. As we wait for word on the well-being of our flying partners and the passengers on Flight 214, we honor the courageous actions of the Asiana Flight Attendants who clearly saved lives. If possible, we submit even greater vigilance to our duties as safety professionals for our airline and our industry.”

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) also issued a response:

“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport earlier today.”

“As with all airline incidents and accidents, there is an established and proven process overseen by the National Transportation Safety Board. The Air Line Pilots Association supports this investigative process and will continue to monitor the situation.”

This article was originally printed on AFL-CIO on July 8, 2013.  Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist whose writings have appeared on AFL-CIO, Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America’s Future and elsewhere.

Your Rights Job Survival The Issues Features Resources About This Blog