CPSD, in partnership with member SEIU, wishes to invite you to join us for lunch and a discussion of opportunities to improve services for air travelers with disabilities that have been opened up in the recent reauthorization of the FAA.
The recently passed short-term FAA reauthorization has two provisions that create possibilities for collaboration around improved access in air travel for passengers with disabilities.
- Section 2107 mandates a GAO investigation into “Training Policies Regarding Assistance for Persons with Disabilities.” It will examine “air carrier personnel and contractor training programs regarding the assistance of persons with disabilities.”
- Section 2108: Establishment of a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel. Among the issues addressed by the Reg-Neg is “carrier reporting of disability service requests.”
SEIU represents thousands of airport service workers who provide services to passengers disabilities, as regulated by the Federal Air Carrier Access Act. Most are employees of contractors hired by airlines, and face difficult circumstances confronted by many outsourced workers, such as low wages, poor training, and high turnover. In fact, many receive a sub-minimum “tipped” wage, even though they may not solicit tips. These conditions make it difficult for passengers with disabilities to receive services in a manner that [in the words of the ACAA] “safeguard[s] the safety and dignity of passengers.” We have in fact identified an increase over recent years in the volume of complaints filed pursuant to the ACAA and an increase in outsourcing of these service jobs.
The GAO report and the Reg-Neg may very well address two sides of the same problem: airlines’ reporting of requests for service; and the problems encountered by the passengers who receive – and the workers who provide – services.
These provisions may create potential for collaboration to improve services for passengers with disabilities and the training of those who provide such services. If there is interest, can we identify:
- Areas of mutual interest in the issue?
- Ways to approach the GAO to ensure its study addresses our mutual concerns? (The timeline on the study is short – 9 months)
- Ways to collaborate when the FAA reauth again comes before congress?
Where: SEIU, 1800 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20036
When: September 29rd, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM