Thursday, April 26, 2007

Iris Peterson, United Airlines No. 1 flight attendant retires

Iris PetersonIris Peterson, the number one flight attendant at United Airlines, has retired after 60 years of service.

Ms. Peterson began her career in 1946, when job restrictions included age, gender, ethnicity and weight. A tribute to Ms. Peterson by the United Airlines MEC of the Association of Flight Attendants notes that Ms. Peterson and her peers helped to destroy these discriminatory practices, advancing the rights of women and uprooting gender discrimination.
Active in her union throughout her career, Iris held various leadership positions and often represented her colleagues in grievances, safety issues and on Capitol Hill. AFA-CWA historian and retired flight attendant Georgia Nielsen tells us that Ms. Peterson was often an integral part of advancing her profession through activity in her union. In 1953, she was the first official lobbyist for the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association. In 1968, the same year that stewardesses won the right to hold the job if they were married, Ms. Peterson participated in safety plans for the first jumbo aircraft. She worked with aircraft engineers and was instrumental in gaining acceptance for 17 safety items, including the evacuation alarm, which is now a standard on equipment worldwide.

"Iris has been a mentor to all of us who've followed in her steps," [United AFA President] Davidowitch continued. "She has spent a lifetime committed to her airline and to improving the profession she has loved for six decades. As her fellow crewmembers, we have been lucky to receive her guidance for 60 years. Iris is an intensely private person, but Flight Attendants everywhere are the beneficiaries of her dedication and commitment to our profession. She is truly one in a million."
Flight attendants and members of the public are encouraged to send cards of appreciation and congratulations to:
ATTN: Iris Peterson
6250 N. River Road, Suite 4020
Chicago, IL 60656
Happy landings, Iris!

[Photo Source]