For Immediate Release
APFA Contact: Anthony DeMaio, 202-292-3355, ADeMaio@oneillandassoc.com
AFA/CWA: Molly Sheerer, 202-550-5520, email@example.com
Teamsters Contact: Galen Munroe, 202-624-6904, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – Today the union presidents of the Association of Flight Attendants; the Association of Professional Flight Attendants; the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent a joint letter to the U.S. Travel Association Board questioning their continued support for the repugnant policies of three Gulf carriers – Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.
These carriers require their female employees to obtain permission before getting married or pregnant and ban lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment. The union presidents asked whether the U.S. Travel Association’s top-tier board members, such as American Express, Google Travel, Hyatt Hotels and Disney Destinations, believe that these archaic policies are acceptable. In the letter, they ask why U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow would continue to support these companies:
“We are writing to you, a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association, to ask two simple questions: Do you support these labor standards? Do you want to associate your name and your company’s reputation with such repugnant practices?”
The full text of the letter is below.
March 26, 2015
To: Board of Directors, U.S. Travel Association
In recent weeks, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow has ardently defended Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates despite overwhelming evidence that they are receiving massive subsidies from their governments in violation of Open Skies agreements.
Mr. Dow is defending companies with abhorrent labor standards. Employees of these airlines aren’t granted fundamental human rights that are enjoyed by most workers in today’s world. Mr. Dow is standing up for companies that demand female employees obtain permission before getting married or pregnant. And he is defending companies that bar lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment. In addition to gender and sexual orientation discrimination, the Gulf carriers have imposed archaic weight and appearance standards on their employees.
Furthermore, the Gulf States ban unions and employees of the Gulf carriers have no recourse or rights in the case of a dispute with their employers. In fact, any association that the government deems as a threat to the public interest can be abolished in Qatar. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates prohibits employees from joining unions or taking part in political organizations.
American carriers and unions overcame practices like these decades ago. Supporting Gulf carriers today returns us to a deplorable time in our industry’s history.
We are writing to you, a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association, to ask two simple questions: Do you support these labor standards? Do you want to associate your name and your company’s reputation with such repugnant practices?
We urge you to allow the Open Skies agreements to work as intended – by supporting government to government consultations to resolve the subsidies’ issue and restore fair competition to the aviation marketplace. We appreciate the U.S. Travel Association’s role in promoting tourism in the United States, and hope that the Association will stop backing the repressive policies of the Gulf carriers and the governments that support them.
Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants
Laura Glading, President, Association of Professional Flight Attendants
Larry Cohen, President, Communications Workers of America
James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters