Source: US GOIAM Union
Understaffing is fueling violence
The FAA has asked the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) for solutions, and here’s what we’ve told them: Chronic understaffing is fueling stress and anger in airports and on planes, and until that’s fixed, the violence is going to continue to rise.
To make matters worse, in some cities, airport concession stands and restaurants aren’t adequately staffed or open, leaving stranded travelers with fewer options for food and beverages, and even more irritated.
It has all meant more stress for travelers and workers alike, both in flight and on the ground. And our members are experiencing firsthand how that stress leads to more violence.
Over the past few months, I’ve traveled to airports across the country to talk to our members. And no matter where I go – Washington, Philadelphia, Newark, Chicago, Phoenix or Houston – workers tell me the same thing: Staff shortages leave them overworked and exhausted, and are making the violence and abuse they endure far worse. Our members say they go to work these days expecting to be insulted, threatened, yelled at and even punched by angry travelers.
Airlines are woefully unprepared
Predictably, that has left airlines unprepared as the number of people flying ramps up to pre-pandemic levels.
“These shortages come in the wake of unprecedented federal funding that Congress appropriated, at the airlines’ request, to support the airline industry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she wrote. That funding was supposed to be used to keep workers on the payroll “so that the industry was positioned to capture a rebound in demand.”
Like us, Cantwell has demanded answers. And all of us, especially the travelers and workers bearing the brunt of the shortages, deserve answers.
Our members have been on the front lines since the pandemic started. Getting passengers to their destination safely and on time – even before COVID-19 – has always been their priority.
Now it’s up to the airlines to demonstrate that this is their priority, too, by fixing the chronic understaffing causing delays and cancellations and making the air rage, and ground rage, worse.