More Action Against Airport Assaults
In September 2019, AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson spoke on the topic of assaults on passenger service agents before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, sharing shocking stories from her own experience:
“I came around the corner on an evening in an airport when there were severe storms and flights were being cancelled everywhere. Because staffing has been reduced both on the plane and at the gates to the lowest level, there was one customer service agent . . . . And there was a family of five going on their vacation who . . . scratched up [the agent’s] arm so badly that blood was dripping from her arms by the time I got there. There were no other airline personnel there to see it, and there was no law enforcement there to respond.”
Nelson urged Congress to require airlines and the FAA to take real, substantive action and create protocols that enforce federal regulations and hold perpetrators accountable in order to end an epidemic of assault.
CWA passenger service agents worked hard last year to get language included in the FAA Reauthorization Act to protect agents from assault, and we continue to demand more progress from airlines. The language included in the act requires that airlines develop clear procedures for reporting verbal and physical abuse, immediately notify law enforcement, and stop passengers involved in violent incidents from proceeding onto aircraft before law enforcement has assessed the situation. In mid-September, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report looking into assaults and harassment over the past year with disturbing results. Take a look at the full story here.