For flight attendants, 2018 was a pretty good year. In a lot of ways they're one of the few groups that would be in a position thank both the U.S. Congress and President Trump.

Take the massive new aviation law that Congress passed and the president signed, that contained some provisions flight attendants have wanted for years.

But with the shutdown, all that goodwill seems to have just flown away.

Because the two largest, rival unions representing flight attendants (the largest airlines included are American and United Airlines), have teamed up to deliver a sharply worded message to Trump, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"As the shutdown continues the entire industry will begin to unravel," the flight attendants' unions wrote in a joint letter that laid out many of the widely reported ramifications.

Interestingly, the flight attendants addressed their letter to all three government leaders--Trump, McConnell, and Pelosi.

This is in contrast to their flight attendant peers, who only addressed their letter to President Trump--but then, cc'd it to the Congressional leaders.

As my colleague Chris Matyszczyk pointed out recently, that suggested they placed blame squarely on the president's shoulders.

The flight attendants seem to be taking a more "pox on both your houses" approach.

Or perhaps it's more that their rank and file membership is just as divided as the rest of the country. For some people, some flight attendants among them, President Trump can do no wrong.

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," President Trump famously said while he was campaigning in 2016. It seemed like hyperbole at the time, but not any longer.

I can't find a similar quote in which Pelosi would have claimed also to be able to commit felony assault with a dangerous weapon and similarly escape political ramifications.

But, let's just stipulate that there are probably just as many flight attendants who are adamant Democrats, and who think the whole shutdown is Trump's fault.

As a whole anyway, they seem to have moved beyond the blame game, and are asking Trump simply to back off -- and to fight and win his debate to fund a border wall with Mexico on its own terms.

"End this shutdown. Do not put Flight Attendants, other aviation workers, and the traveling public at risk any longer," the letter states, while also insisting that border security is important.

"Please return our government to full capacity now, and continue your discussions once that is done," the flight attendants wrote. "We cannot sacrifice critical safety, security, and economic stability in the airline industry as another area of national security is discussed."
 

Published on: Jan 12, 2019
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