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5.22.20 – Aviation Safety and Worker Protections in the HEROES Act

Friday, May 22, 2020

Aviation Safety and Worker Protections in the HEROES Act

Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act –
HEROES Act (H.R. 6800)

A week ago today, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act stimulus bill. Attention now turns to the Senate, who will discuss and negotiate their version of a fourth stimulus package in the weeks ahead. APFA continues to advocate for a uniform federal mandate for aviation safety standards. APFA also supports the numerous pro-worker provisions contained in the HEROES Act. This legislation aligns with the proposed ideas in the “Essential Workers Bill of Rights” that protect the safety and economic well-being of frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Your APFA Government Affairs Department will continue lobbying the Senate to adopt all provisions beneficial to Flight Attendants into a final bill. We will be calling on you when it is time to act.

The HEROES Act mandates that:

  • Passengers and crewmembers (outside the flight deck) wear face coverings on airplanes.
  • Aviation employees are provided with PPE (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes).
  • Aircraft are cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized per the CDC guidance.
  • Airlines establish guidelines for employee exposure notification.
  • DOT develops a national aviation preparedness plan in the event of a future health crisis.
  • FAA conducts a study on cabin air to mitigate airborne pathogens onboard aircraft.


The HEROES Act also supports the livelihood of Flight Attendants by:

  • Establishing the Heroes Fund to provide essential workers with retroactive pandemic pay (up to $10,000) through the end of the public health emergency (“hazard pay”)
  • Providing $1200 direct payments to individuals to help alleviate economic hardship
  • Extending the $600 unemployment insurance boost through January (set to expire in July)
  • Federally subsidized COBRA benefits for workers who become disconnected from their healthcare coverage
  • Expanding federal paid leave requirements during the pandemic
  • Prohibiting involuntary employee furloughs at airlines that accepted CARES Act payroll grants until the later of September 30th or the full exhaustion of the aid.


Ensuring Health and Safety in the Skies Act

APFA also supports the Ensuring Health and Safety in the Skies Act that passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this week. This bipartisan legislation instructs the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to establish a joint task force advised by aviation, security, and public health experts. This task force will develop recommended requirements, plans, and guidelines to ensure safe and healthy air travel during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis for the aviation industry, and I applaud the Senate Commerce Committee’s bipartisan actions today, said Julie Hedrick, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. The leadership of Senator Markey and Senator Blumenthal, along with Chairman Wicker, were instrumental in getting this critical bill moved promptly out of Committee. We need uniform transportation safety policies to combat this pandemic safely and effectively, and we are hopeful that this task force is a step in the right direction. Senator Markey’s willingness to work across the aisle was a critical factor in moving this legislation forward.

In Unity,

Allie Malis
APFA Government Affairs Representative

Lori Glattly
APFA Government Affairs Representative

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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