Taking Action for Agent Safety
The escalating problem of Passenger Service representatives being assaulted on the job by passengers is one that CWA is working overtime to address, with the goal of protecting all our agents from harm.
Since our Passenger Service Agent lobby day in Washington, DC, last June, we have told lawmakers and the White House stories of how stressful and challenging our jobs can be. We have reported incidents of agents who were verbally and physically assaulted. Through petitions and direct meetings, we have urged our U.S. Representatives and Senators, the Administration, and the airlines to address this serious problem.
Earlier this year, we were pleased when the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation agreed with us and confirmed that the Aviation and Transportation Security Act did, in fact, cover Passenger Service Agent assaults as federal assaults. The provision in the law, 49 U.S.C. 46503, sets federal penalties for interfering with airport and airline personnel who have security duties. As a result of this clarification, agents at every airport in the nation now can be assured that the "airport rage" incidents we face as we perform our critical safety roles will be dealt with properly.
While this was a tremendous victory for us, more work must be done to assure that DOT, TSA, airlines, airports, and law enforcement do all they can to protect agents in case of assault. CWA is working to provide recommendations and guidance to ensure that everyone with a stake in protecting agents has the information and tools needed to do just that. This includes providing critical information about what to do if assaulted.
We have created a wallet-size card you can download here. This card cites Public Law 107-71 on one side and on the other side lists the steps an agent should take when assaulted.
We have also created a poster that can be downloaded here. The poster provides the same information as the card and can be placed on union bulletin boards.
We hope these are helpful first steps in providing agents with valuable information about protecting ourselves and getting the support we need.
CWA will continue to work to protect all Passenger Service Agents from assaults on the job.