It shouldn’t come down to an emergency chute

Flight attendant Steven Slater’s notoriety has risen quickly. And while his dramatic exit down the plane’s emergency chute—beer in hand—definitely captured the public’s imagination, it’s far from the only reason his story has received so much attention. Millions of Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs with low wages and meager benefits and, if they could afford it, they’d be thrilled to throw in the towel .

And if anybody knows stress, it’s our country’s flight attendants, who work hard everyday to keep frazzled travelers safe and happy. But with flight delays and cancellations, outrageous luggage fees (not to mention trying to jam luggage into overhead compartments), crying kids, and passengers who want their peanuts and bloody marys right now, it’s a pretty arduous task.

That’s where unions come in.

The Association of Flight Attendants gives their members access to peers and counselors to work with in handling personal stress before it makes its way into the professional realm.  But Jet Blue’s attendants do not have a union, and therefore Slater was automatically denied a valuable resource.

By protecting workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain, we can build a win-win economy. If our policymakers make that commitment, they probably won’t be rewarded with T-shirts and Facebook pages like Slater. But ensuring that all workers get the respect they deserve on the job, the training they need, and a real chance at the American Dream will have an impact that far outlasts Slater’s 15 minutes of fame.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010 at 1:55 pm and is filed under General, jobs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “It shouldn’t come down to an emergency chute”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AmericanRightsAtWork, Briana Kerensky. Briana Kerensky said: New blog post! It shouldn't come down to an emergency chute #stevenslater [...]

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