Negotiations

Legislative and Political Update

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The purpose of this update is to keep you informed of important political and legislative developments that affect our jobs.

1)     US D.O.T. approves Norwegian’s foreign air carrier permit for NAN

2)     Free Labor Magazine Subscription for AFA Members

3)     FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

 

1.     US DOT approves Norwegian’s foreign air carrier permit for NAN

On October 10th, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian subsidiary Norwegian Air Norway (NAN). NAN’s application for a foreign air carrier permit was approved by the US DOT  in only one month due to the fact that there were no objections to the application. US legacy carriers, European legacy carriers, US labor unions, and European labor unions did not object to Norwegian’s application because NAN is not considered a “flag of convenience” airline, like NAI and NUK (NAN’s AOC is from Norway and is also headquartered in Norway). For reference, Norwegian’s application for a foreign air carrier permit for NAS was approved by the US DOT in 2012 in a month with no objections.

So, what does the US DOT approval of NAN mean for those of us working for NAS? It means that sometime in the near future, NAS routes, crew, and aircraft will likely be transferred to NAN. For us, the crew, it will be business-as-usual because we will most likely follow the same policies and procedures that we do right now for NAS. If any sort of conversion training is needed, it will most likely be computer-based training. In-person (classroom) training that our UK-based colleagues had to undergo when transferring from NAS to NUK will most likely not be necessary for us when transferring from NAS to NAN. This is primarily because we’re transferring between AOCs issued by the same aviation authority—the Norwegian CAA.

So, what will happen to NAS? Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) will cease being an airline and no longer have an AOC. NAS will be a pure holding company listed on the Norwegian stock exchange, whose purpose is to own the shares of all of the other companies in the group, and not providing any services or products. The holding company will be responsible for controlling the Company’s specialized business areas (assets, aircraft operations (AOC’s), people and services (NAR), etc.) All of the administrative functions that aren’t necessary to have inside an AOC will be moved to the Shared Service Center (SSC).

 

2.     Free Labor Magazine Subscription for AFA Members

Every month, IN THESE TIMES MAGAZINE provides news, investigative reports and provocative debates about politics, social movements and culture—as well as the best coverage of the labor movement in the nation.

The magazine has created a link for AFA to a free subscription for union members: www.inthesetimes.com/afa

 

3.     FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

At foreign airlines the rest rules for flight deck and cabin crews are the same. Working for a European airline like Norwegian, we are fortunate to work under European regulations that mandate 10 hours minimum rest for both pilots and cabin crew. Our flight attendant brothers and sisters working for US airlines are not as fortunate. The United States has been the only country in the world that didn’t have consistent rest requirements for flight deck and cabin crews. Since 2014, pilots working for a US airline have had 10 hours minimum rest while the minimum rest standard for flight attendants working at a US airline remained 8 hours.

Through years of hard work, lobbying, and grassroots efforts, the AFA finally persuaded federal lawmakers to pass a law guaranteeing 10 hours non-reduceable rest for flight attendants at US airlines.  H.R. 302, also known as the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed into law on October 5th, 2018. AFAInternational President Sara Nelson issued the following statement:

“Flight Attendants cheer the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 with a provision to combat Flight Attendant fatigue by increasing minimum rest from 8 hours to 10 hours. This bill closes a safety loophole while improving Flight Attendant health and achieving equal minimum rest with our flight deck counterparts.”

“We applaud Chairman Shuster (R-PA), Ranking Member DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman LoBiondo (R-NJ), Ranking Member Larsen (D-WA), Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), for their leadership in writing this legislation so important for a safe and dependable U.S. aviation system.”

The final bill received overwhelming bipartisan support. AFA especially notes certain Congressional champions for Flight Attendant 10 hours minimum rest:

House – Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Michael Bost (R-IL), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL).

Senate – Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) originally introduced the language when she was in the House and continued advocacy in the Senate. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) have all since worked hard to ensure the rest language would be included in a final FAA bill. We thank Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) for weighing in when it especially counted to help us get our rest.

“Over 100,000 Flight Attendants from around the country made calls, signed postcards, rallied, repeatedly visited congressional offices and took other actions to achieve this outcome today. This bill lifts standards for Flight Attendants across the industry and addresses serious safety, health and security issues in our workplace – the passenger cabin,” Nelson concluded.

Aside from the 10-hours rest requirement for flight attendants at US carriers, there are many AFA safety priorities included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that benefit us at Norwegian even though we work for a foreign carrier:

  • No Knives on Planes Ever Again
  • Ban of Voice Calls on Planes
  • Emotional Support and Service Animal Standards
  • Air Quality: Technologies to Combat Contaminated Bleed Air
  • Protect Customer Service agents from Assaults
  • Cabin Cyber Security Vulnerabilities
  • Secondary Cockpit Barriers
  • Safe Transport of Lithium Batteries
  • Study on Cabin Evacuation Certification (including cabin configuration)
  • Increase Civil Penalties for Crew Interference from $25,000 to $35,000
  • Banning Electronic Cigarette Smoking on Planes
  • Congressional Focus on Addressing Sexual Misconduct on Planes
  • Establish National Inflight Sexual Misconduct Task Force
  • Require DOJ to Establish Reporting Process for Sexual Misconduct
  • Prioritize Support for Flight Attendant Drug and Alcohol Program (FADAP)
  • Requiring Privacy for Nursing in the Airport
  • Evaluation and Update of Emergency Medical Kit Contents
  • Oxygen Mask Design Study
  • Develop Guidance for Non-Toxic Prevention of Transporting Insects
  • Exit Row Evaluation and Verification
  • Required Notification of Insecticide Use
  • Promoting Women in Aviation
  • TSA Authorization
  • Continue Crewmember Self-Defense Training
  • NTSB Reauthorization
  • Expanded Human Trafficking Training for Airline Personnel
  • Authorization of Essential Air Service

 

Thank you for reading this political/legislative Union update. Stay Unified. Stay Professional. Be Courteous to one another.

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