Monday, February 02, 2009

US Dept. of Labor Re-classifies Flight Attendants as 'Essential ' Workers

by B. N. Sullivan

U.S. Dept of LaborThe United States Department of Labor (DOL) has reclassified the flight attendant occupation as 'essential transportation workers', thanks in part to the efforts of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). Formerly, the flight attendant occupation was categorized in the 'personal care providers' group. The DOL reclassification represents a substantial boost in occupational status for flight attendants in the U.S.

The DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains a Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) system in which every occupation is assigned to a certain category. The reclassification means that, for the first time in over 30 years, flight attendants will be listed with essential transportation workers such as pilots and air traffic controllers in the Transportation and Material Moving Occupation section.

According to the AFA:
The SOC is frequently used by government agencies when compiling and comparing employment data. AFA-CWA made the claim to the Department of Labor to re-evaluate the flight attendant classification after first securing flight attendant certification with the Department of Transportation.

AFA-CWA International directors from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Air Safety Health and Security departments worked diligently alongside the Department of Labor to ensure that the federal government fully recognizes the value of flight attendants within the transportation industry.
Given that the FAA requires and the presence of flight attendants on commercial aircraft for safety reasons, and regulates their training and the scope of their safety-related job duties, it is amazing that they have not been classified as essential transportation workers until now.