New York, NY – The Transport Workers Union [TWU] is claiming a “huge victory” for airline workers after the Supreme Court denied a motion to overturn a 9th Circuit Court ruling extending meal and break protections to California-based flight crews. The Court, TWU further states, also rejected a similar case from airlines seeking an exemption from Washington state’s sick leave law. According to the union, Airline workers will receive the same state-level protections as their colleagues in other industries as a result of these decisions.

TWU International President John Samuelsen.

Under California law, employers are required to provide employees with ten-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked, as well as  thirty-minute meal periods for every five hours worked. These meal and rest requirements have been in place for over a decade and help to ensure the health and safety of workers while preventing harms associated through overwork.

However, the TWU says airline executives and their lobbyists have been attempting to deny flight attendants and other crew members these laws by falsely claiming that federal law pre-empted states from applying labor protections to this group. Airlines have lost this argument in nearly every lower-level court and today’s final decision by the Supreme Court makes it clear state legislatures can improve airline workers lives through state-level powers.

“The TWU has been leading the charge to prevent these cuts from happening, not only in California, but in Illinois, New York, and elsewhere” TWU International President John Samuelsen said in a statement. “It should go without saying that every worker deserves rest and meal breaks, every worker deserves sick leave and time to care for their families, every worker deserves access to quality healthcare and a minimum wage. The airlines have been wrong on this from the start and the TWU is going to ensure that workers assert these rights in every state.”


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