Flight attendants threaten strike if Trump shuts down government again


The Association of Flight Attendants union warns that a second Trump shutdown would threaten air travel safety.

Flight attendants offered a stark warning Monday that if Trump decides to engage in another reckless, useless government shutdown, it will create unacceptable risks for air travelers.

That's why, if the government shuts down on Friday because Trump and Republicans in Congress refuse to fund the government over Trump's border wall, many flight attendants are prepared to go on strike if need be — and are calling for workers in other industries to join them in a nationwide general strike.

“If we are in a situation where we’re not safe and not secure, we cannot go to work in those instances,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants, told Hill.TV.

Nelson also told The Hill that if Trump shuts down the government again, she is calling for a nationwide general strike and urging the public to go to airports on Saturday for a public demonstration.

Nelson called a shutdown where hundreds of thousands of people are forced to work without pay "immoral," and said such a situation "requires really bold action."

"The shutdown put our lives and livelihoods in danger, risked the safety of everyone who flies, and threatened our entire economy," Nelson wrote in a recent USA Today op-ed. "Things will only get worse if the shutdown continues into day 36 this Saturday," she added.

Trump initiated a 35-day shutdown after throwing a temper tantrum in late December demanding $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After caving to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks (with no funding for a wall) so Congress could discuss longer-term border security funding.

That funding runs out on Friday, however. That's why Nelson says a new shutdown would turn Saturday into day 36 of the Trump shutdown.

During the recent shutdown, flights were brought to a halt at several major airports. A group of airline unions said air travel was so dangerous that they "cannot even calculate the level of risk" to passengers, pilots, and airline workers.

The shutdown was wildly unpopular with the general public, who largely laid the blame on Trump and Republicans in Congress. Yet the White House refuses to rule out the possibility of shutting down the government again.

"We have a duty to protect ourselves and the American people from the danger," Nelson wrote. Even if Trump and Republicans in Congress refuse to look out for the safety and security of the public, the flight attendants' union will do so.

"Working people have power when we come together," she wrote. "If Congress chooses the chaos of a continued lockout, we will use that power."

Hopefully, Trump and Republicans will learn from last time, and abandon any attempts to hold workers — and our collective safety — hostage once again.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.