A Message to Congress: We Need Protection from Airport Rage

Amanda Mitchell-Chris Kress-Michael Flusche-Ted Cruz office

Since June, CWA members have collected more than 1,500 signatures on a petition demanding that Congress pass a national standard protecting airport customer service agents from what is commonly known as “airport rage.” Starting in September, agents from Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas delivered petitions for their states to the district offices of their members of Congress.

Although it’s a felony to interfere with the duties of flight attendants and pilots, currently there are no such protections for passenger service agents, who are often on the front lines, serving angry passengers who can be both physically and verbally abusive. Efforts to add protections for agents to the FAA Reauthorization Bill failed in June, so CWA is now focusing on the next opportunity. We are calling on Congress to enact strong protections in the next legislative session.

Amanda Mitchell (Envoy-DFW) talked about why her face-to-face meeting with staff in the office of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) meant so much. “Our elected officials don’t know airport rage is such a serious issue. We gave the senator’s staff perspectives on how airport rage has affected our lives and careers, and we challenged them to be more observant when traveling because airport rage occurs daily. Contacting the senator in the state in which we work is the first step to making a more positive, safe work environment.”

CWA agents meet with staff of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to talk about airport rage protections.

CWA agents meet with staff of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to talk about airport rage protections.

Celia Cody (CWA, District 4), Marie Gage (Envoy-ORD), Carolyn Marsalek (AA-ORD), and Nicole Popis (CWA-LPAT) met with staff members of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who has a strong interest in transportation issues. Rep. Duckworth’s District Director, Marina Faz-Huppert, stressed that all members of Congress want to read real life stories that illustrate the need for these protections. Those stories, more than anything else, will focus attention on airport rage legislation. We are still collecting members’ stories to pass on to Congress, so if you have not already shared yours here, please consider doing so this month.

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) is an ally in this cause, working to clarify the fact that the 2002 Aviation and Transportation Security Act included provisions intended to protect ramp personnel, gate agents, and others with security responsibilities. If successful in this effort, airlines and airports would be pressured to establish protocols to protect all employees who are vulnerable to airport rage.

You can find more information and updates on the American, Envoy, and Piedmont Agents Facebook pages.