10 Hours Rest Implementation is Moving After Years of Obstruction

Three years ago, together we won our #FightFor10 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote to raise our minimum irreducible rest to 10 hours, equal with the pilots. The prior administration didn’t follow congressional instruction on our 10 hours or hundreds of other safety initiatives in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, and instead put our rest into a regulatory process that was meant to kill it. We made clear the next President needed to make this a priority and our 10 hours minimum irreducible rest takes a big step toward implementation today. (Elections have consequences.)

Despite the outcome of congressional mandated fatigue studies that confirmed Flight Attendant fatigue is real and a safety/health risk, airlines have argued to the federal government that it would be too costly to implement 10 hours. You cannot put a cost on safety. After the bill passed in October 2018, we negotiated with some airlines to include the 10 hour rest in our contracts, and got it implemented quickly after ratification. But this safety issue needs to be a federal rule that applies across the industry, and it’s all the more urgent with the schedules of long days and short nights due to reduced service from COVID, and the current conditions on our planes.

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg put our 10 hours back on track, and after internal review with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where our union met to press the urgency and facts about implementation at some AFA airlines, the agency sent their review back to FAA over a month before the deadline. The minute it hit FAA Administrator Steve Dickson’s desk last night he signed the order for a notice of our rule on rest. The rulemaking process now requires a comment period for 60 days, then the FAA will move to implement the final rule.

Fatigue is real. We need our 10 hours yesterday. From President Biden, to Secretary Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, and our champion Chairman Peter DeFazio who has never stopped fighting on this - we were heard and each of these leaders worked hard to undo the efforts to kill our hard won rest and put it back on track to implementation.

Together with APFA, TWU, IAM, ALPA and all of our allies, we will keep the heat on and press for full federal implementation as soon as possible. The fatigue we all feel has not stopped and neither will we until this rule is fully implemented.