US Flight attendants take a stand, spark protests at major airports

US Flight attendants take a stand, spark protests at major airports

US Flight attendants take a stand, spark protests at major airports
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/ADAM DAVIS
3:53 PM EST, February 14, 2024

On Tuesday, February 13, due to Worldwide Flight Attendant Day of Action. Thousands of flight attendants from numerous American airlines organized pickets and protests. Their goal is to get significant raises and new contracts.

Flight attendants from a few different unions have gathered at 30 major airports in the United States, for instance, in Miami, San Francisco, New York City, Charlotte, Washington DC, Chicago, and Atlanta. For now, they are just picketing, but if their demands are not heard and accepted, there may be strikes as well.

The main reason for the protests is the low earnings of stewards, which are disproportionate to the importance of their profession. As the organizers of pickets across the United States emphasize, they are responsible for the lives and safety of passengers, and they are also exposed to it, including when confronted with rude and sometimes aggressive passengers. The times of the coronavirus pandemic, when stewards were exposed to infection, are also mentioned.

"Even today, putting on my uniform and going to work, there are several layers of anxiety all of us experience. I feel like that level of stress is not being recognized by the company, they’re not recognizing our value and what we do everyday", said Melissa Osborne, who has been working as a flight attendant for 23 years, qoated by The Guardian.

She also underlined that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the airlines recorded record-high profits, and stewards' wages remained very low, unlike pilots who earn a lot. According to media reports, 26,000 flight attendants participated in the protests, 2/3 of all representatives of this profession in the United States. Negotiations of new contracts between unions and airlines are underway.

Sources: The Guardian, CBS News, Associated Press

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