Secretary Buttigieg Addresses Air Rage at the 2023 North American Transportation Conference

Secretary Buttigieg Addresses Air Rage at the 2023 North American Transportation Conference

Secretary Buttigieg Addresses Air Rage at the 2023 North American Transportation Conference

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In response to a question about the recent attacks on airline workers by disgruntled passengers, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg outlined the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) efforts to combat air rage during the 2023 North American Transportation Conference. Nina Caldwell, Vice President at Machinists Union District 142, posed the question.

“There is still unacceptable violence happening and intimidation happening on our planes,” said Buttigieg. “Flight crews are there for your safety and need to be respected.” The Secretary detailed the DOT’s zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers, which has been progressively enforced. “We’re going to keep doing it, and we proposed millions in penalties last year. At least fifty of those cases got referred to the DOJ for criminal prosecution review, and we’re going to continue looking at other steps that would make a difference.”

Buttigieg also mentioned the DOT’s request for airports to work with concessionaires in monitoring alcohol sales and not providing ‘to-go’ cups for alcoholic beverages. The department is partnering with airports on signage and public messaging to ensure everyone knows the zero-tolerance policy and its consequences.

The Secretary highlighted the progress made so far, stating, “We’re seeing results; we’re down about 80% from the record highs in 2021, but even one of these incidents is too many.” He emphasized that the DOT will not rest in addressing this issue and will stand with the industry every step of the way.

Buttigieg went on to say, “It is not just a huge affront to the life-saving work that our workers do, but of course, it endangers everybody on board when you see these incidents occur.” The continued efforts of the DOT aim to ensure the safety of both airline workers and passengers when air travel is facing multiple challenges.

The sharp increase in air rage incidents was partly fueled by masking requirements implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the removal of these requirements, incidents have been reduced overall. However, attacks on airline workers remain high by historical standards.  While the easing of masking requirements has helped reduce tensions, it is crucial to continue addressing this issue to ensure airline workers’ and passengers’ safety and well-being.

Machinists Union Chief of Staff Edison Fraser and General Vice President Richie Johnsen led the 2023 North American Transportation Conference. These influential figures played a significant role in facilitating discussions and fostering collaboration among transportation industry stakeholders. Their leadership contributed to the conference’s success, ensuring that critical issues like air rage incidents and the safety of airline workers were brought to the forefront and addressed by critical decision-makers like Secretary Buttigieg.

Machinists Union Political Activists were supportive of Secretary Buttigieg’s comments. 

“The work the DOT and Justice department have done to help reduce violence against airline workers is a huge benefit to all of us, said Rich Jakubowski, a legislative chairman from Chicago. “If the administration is able to get the FAA reauthorization signed this year our members and the flying public will continue to see positive safety improvements.”

 

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Secretary Buttigieg Addresses Air Rage at the 2023 North American Transportation Conference

April 3, 2023

In response to a question about the recent attacks on airline workers by disgruntled passengers, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg outlined the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) efforts to combat air rage during the 2023 North American Transportation Conference. Nina Caldwell, Vice President at Machinists Union District 142, posed the question.

“There is still unacceptable violence happening and intimidation happening on our planes,” said Buttigieg. “Flight crews are there for your safety and need to be respected.” The Secretary detailed the DOT’s zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers, which has been progressively enforced. “We’re going to keep doing it, and we proposed millions in penalties last year. At least fifty of those cases got referred to the DOJ for criminal prosecution review, and we’re going to continue looking at other steps that would make a difference.”

Buttigieg also mentioned the DOT’s request for airports to work with concessionaires in monitoring alcohol sales and not providing ‘to-go’ cups for alcoholic beverages. The department is partnering with airports on signage and public messaging to ensure everyone knows the zero-tolerance policy and its consequences.

The Secretary highlighted the progress made so far, stating, “We’re seeing results; we’re down about 80% from the record highs in 2021, but even one of these incidents is too many.” He emphasized that the DOT will not rest in addressing this issue and will stand with the industry every step of the way.

Buttigieg went on to say, “It is not just a huge affront to the life-saving work that our workers do, but of course, it endangers everybody on board when you see these incidents occur.” The continued efforts of the DOT aim to ensure the safety of both airline workers and passengers when air travel is facing multiple challenges.

The sharp increase in air rage incidents was partly fueled by masking requirements implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the removal of these requirements, incidents have been reduced overall. However, attacks on airline workers remain high by historical standards.  While the easing of masking requirements has helped reduce tensions, it is crucial to continue addressing this issue to ensure airline workers’ and passengers’ safety and well-being.

Machinists Union Chief of Staff Edison Fraser and General Vice President Richie Johnsen led the 2023 North American Transportation Conference. These influential figures played a significant role in facilitating discussions and fostering collaboration among transportation industry stakeholders. Their leadership contributed to the conference’s success, ensuring that critical issues like air rage incidents and the safety of airline workers were brought to the forefront and addressed by critical decision-makers like Secretary Buttigieg.

“The work the DOT and Justice department have done to help reduce violence against airline workers is a huge benefit to all of us, said Rich Jakubowski, a legislative chairman from Chicago. “If the administration is able to get the FAA reauthorization signed this year our members and the flying public will continue to see positive safety improvements.”

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Unified Airline Workers Gather in NevadaLAS VEGAS - The 2024 Machinists Union District 141 Committee Conference kicked off today in Las Vegas, bringing together over 200 union activists, leaders, and grievance committee members from across the United States.Unified...