US cabin crew unite against knives on planes

March 8, 2013

The ITF is backing American unions representing airline cabin crew in their campaign to reverse the US government decision announced on 6 March to allow knives in aircraft cabins for the first time since 9/11.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announcement means that from 25 April, passengers will be able to carry aboard small pocket knives, defined as knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6cm) or less in length and less than 1/2 inch (1.25cm) wide.

The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, made up of five ITF-affiliated unions representing nearly 90,000 flight attendants at carriers across the country, is coordinating a nationwide legislative and public campaign which kicks off with a petition to the White House.

In a statement on 7 March, the five union leaders said: “Flight Attendants are outraged. We are the last line of defense in aviation security and time does not change the fact that we were among the first to die in a war we didn’t know we were fighting on September 11, 2001. At great cost, we know better today. There is no excuse for this.

“Since yesterday’s announcement, our unions have received an overwhelming response of outrage from members and passengers across the country. This policy reversal is against the best interest of the security of crew and passengers in the aircraft cabin and we will stop at nothing to fight it. We encourage all those who agree and wish to join our growing coalition to sign the petition at ”

ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho commented: “We are confident that the work in unity of this coalition that proved successful in the past will protect the cabin crew in the US and will be an encouraging example for the worldwide cabin crew community.

"Just because a knife is small does not mean that it cannot be deadly, either in a terrorist act or an air rage incident. The simple fact is that no passenger needs to carry pocket knives on board.”

Coalition members are the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Transport Workers Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

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