5.31.21 – Recognizing Essential Workers: International Flight Attendant Appreciation Day

Monday, May 31, 2021

Recognizing Essential Workers:
International Flight Attendant Appreciation Day

Today is International Flight Attendant Appreciation Day, a day to honor your dedication to our profession. We recognize and thank you for the adjustments you have been forced to make to your personal and professional lives over the last fifteen months. Looking back, we pause to not only honor your dedication but to recognize the sacrifices you have made to keep American Airlines operating through one of the most trying times in its history.

The personal and professional struggles are plentiful. Early last year, Flight Attendants began the push for Personal Protective Equipment to fight against an invisible threat to our health. We knew that the virus was airborne, yet we had to fight for protections for our crews, from masks to enhanced onboard cleaning. These protections became a reality because Flight Attendants industry-wide stood together and worked together to secure these protections.

You have endured base closures, base displacements, and involuntary furloughs. You made difficult, personal decisions to participate in leaves of absence to lessen our ranks as we watched in disbelief as American cut 85% of flying capacity.

You stepped up numerous times to prop up our airline with money accessed through the Payroll Support Program (PSP) contained in the CARES Act. You showed up at picketing events across the country, called and e-mailed your elected officials countless times, and marched on Washington, D.C. You helped keep your colleagues connected to pay and healthcare, and even when some of our colleagues were furloughed, you didn’t stop calling and writing. You made this financial support a reality, and the last-minute extension of the PSP in December, as well as the extension in March, would not have happened without your advocacy.

You are at the forefront of an unprecedented increase in verbal and physical altercations on board the aircraft. Every day, our crews are subjected to verbal and sometimes physical abuse to ensure a safe cabin environment. While we are well-trained in handling disruptive passengers, never did we expect we would have to endure verbal and physical threats with such frequency. Never did we expect to see the dangerous and sometimes violent behavior to which we are currently exposed. APFA Leadership will continue to work with other Unions on Capitol Hill to ensure those who would try to hurt us are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We are aviation’s first responders and have taken on the role of essential worker, transporting health care workers and vaccines when we were unsure about our health and safety. Our industry has fundamentally changed, and the effects of this pandemic on our profession are not over. We will continue to prioritize your safety and protect your jobs to the very best of our ability.

In Solidarity,

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