Friday, 3 Jul 2020

Flight attendants union head criticizes Trump coronavirus

The leader of the largest U.S. flights attendants’ union,
Sara Nelson, sharply criticized President Donald Trump for his decision to
suspend visitation by most foreign nationals from 26 European countries to the
U.S. beginning Saturday.

On Twitter, Nelson called Trump “President Travel Ban.”

She also criticized the president for overstating the extent
of the ban during Wednesday’s address to the nation from the Oval Office. 

This is outrageous. President Travel Ban is destroying everything that makes our country great. No consultation with experts or stakeholders. Dismantled vital government programs that actually help. He’s isolating us from the world and destroying freedom.

“We know tonight’s address will add greatly to the panic
already spreading across the country and contributing to the dramatic drop in
bookings,” wrote Sara Nelson, head of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
in a letter to membership Wednesday night. “The conflicting information and
failure to focus our nation on saving lives is making this crisis worse. We are
calling on all leaders in government to focus on solving the problem.”

During the speech, Trump said that he was suspending all
travel from Europe, with exemptions for Americans. 

The suspension applies to individuals who have been in one
of the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area, where travel across borders
is passport-free, during the 14 days before travel. It does not apply to the
U.K., Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. U.S. citizens, permanent
residents and certain close family members can still return to the U.S., but
they must enter through approved airports. 

In the address, Trump said the suspension would last 30
days. However, the executive order issued by the president last night says that
it shall remain in effect “until determined by the president.”

Returning U.S.-based travelers will be screened and asked to
self-quarantine for 14 days, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday, according
to Politico. 

Nelson told union members that the AFA would be interfacing
with airline management Thursday to determine how the carriers will manage the

“The United States of America has a long history of
marshaling the resources, patriotism, ingenuity and freedom of our nation to
take on any challenge and lead the world,” she wrote. “Aviation is a large part
of this proud history. In order to fight this communicable disease, Covid-19,
just like any we have faced before, we need to act together. We need government
coordinating public and private actions, with healthcare authorities leading,
and all stakeholders at the table to raise specific concerns and offer

Nelson’s sharp critique was not matched by the trade group
Airlines for America (A4A). In a statement issued Wednesday night, CEO Nick
Calio said A4A commends the president “for continuing to take decisive action
to protect the health and well-being of the American people.”

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