More than 75,000 flight attendants pledge to serve up Biden win

More than 75,000 flight attendants pledge to serve up Biden win
Photo credit: Getty.

The two largest U.S. flight attendant unions, representing more than 75,000 workers, has endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden, ahead of the U.S. presidential election next week.

The unions have been pressing Congress and Republican President Donald Trump to back US$25 billion in additional payroll assistance to prevent 32,000 airline furloughs.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing the 27,000 American Airlines flight attendants, and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA that represents about 50,000 workers at 20 airlines, said in separate statements they were endorsing Biden.

"The complete and total failure of this president on any plan around coronavirus, putting our lives in danger and now putting tens of thousands of us out of work with no hope for fixing that gives us the space to do what we normally would be doing this time of year," AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson said.

Biden said this week that he would issue a mandate requiring the use of face coverings in all interstate transportation like airline flights, while the Trump administration has repeatedly rejected mandates.

"Right now there's no plan. The only plan is politicising things like masks which put the people who I represent in more danger not only in terms of their lives, their safety at work, but also the longevity of our industry and our industry's ability to even survive," Nelson said.

Airlines and unions had urged action on the new bailout before the prior US$25 billion in payroll assistance expired on September 30.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had said Trump was weighing executive action to avoid massive layoffs at airlines if congress failed to act, but the White House did not act.

On October 2, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked airlines to halt furloughs, saying a long-awaited deal to provide US$25 billion to airlines was "imminent."

That deal never happened.