Assaults on Agents Are On the Rise: We Need Your Stories

April 27th, 2016

Across the country, airline customer service agents are under assault, and the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD) needs our help to strengthen federal laws to protect us all.

Agents report that passengers attack them verbally and physically, and that these assaults are increasing. The attacks include racial slurs, punches in the face, thrown luggage, torn clothes, and worse. If this has happened to you, your representatives at CWA need to know. Please fill in and submit the brief questionnaire here about your experiences.

Ed Wytkind provides shocking details about this growing problem in a recent blog post:

Then there’s the horrific 2014 incident in which a United Airlines customer service representative working at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was punched, dragged by the hair on the ground and repeatedly kicked in the stomach by an enraged passenger. Multiple witnesses reported that the attack was completely unprovoked, and described how the defenseless customer service agent tried to shield herself from the attacker. . . .
While the passenger in that particular incident was arrested and charged with battery, most perpetrators of these kinds of crimes are rarely held accountable for their actions. In fact, in the vast majority of incidents, violent passengers are allowed to continue on their trips.

As CWA agents, here’s what we can do:
1. Support the legislation spearheaded by Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), that would extend to airport customer service representatives the same federal protections applied to pilots and flight attendants. The provision is part of the House Aviation Innovation and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. The Senate’s version of this bill currently does not extend these protections to customer service reps, but requires a federal study of the problem instead. Call your Representative and your Senator to let them know you support immediate action, not more studies.

2. Share your stories. If you have experienced a verbal or physical assault by a passenger, please share your story. The more evidence we have, the more likely we are to force lawmakers to listen and make changes in the law. Share your information by filling out this form.