No One Expects Flight Attendants to Be Militant

Sara Nelson

Episode 2

This week on All Ears, Abby is joined by Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Sara is a force to be reckoned with. As one of the most powerful labor leaders in the country, she’s devoted her career as a flight attendant and union member to improving the conditions of working people. At the height of the pandemic, she helped assure that aviation workers got paid and kept their healthcare, by negotiating for some of the strongest protections in the CARES act. And during the 2018-2019 government shutdown her leadership played a significant role in then-President Trump finally agreeing to end the shutdown. In this week’s conversation with Abby, she talks about why, under capitalism, there must always be a struggle between workers and management, the power and necessity of unions, and why she loves to be called militant. Plus, her recollections from the United Airlines crisis room on September 11, 2001. Tune in for an exciting conversation about the power and potential of organized labor.

Follow Sara Nelson on Twitter: @flyingwithsara

Special Guest

Sara Nelson

International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO

Sara Nelson has served as the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO since 2014, representing 50,000 of aviation’s first responders at 17 airlines. She has been a union Flight Attendant since 1996 when she started flying at United Airlines. Sara designed the successful payroll support program that was a historic Worker’s First relief program that kept aviation workers connected to their paychecks, healthcare, and other benefits for 16 months during the COVID pandemic, while banning stock buybacks and dividends across the industry and capping executive compensation for 2 years after the relief period ends. Sara believes Labor should set the agenda every time. The New York Times called her “America’s most powerful flight attendant” for her role in helping to end the 35-day Government Shutdown, InStyle Magazine placed her on their Top 50 Badass Women list, and Fast Company put her on the cover of their Summer 2021 magazine with the headline, “Workers Strike Back.” Sara often says corporations have money and control but workers have power, and the Labor Movement is for all working people. She encourages women everywhere to join unions and run unions. She believes Flight Attendants can play a pivotal role in building worker power with more public contact than almost any other job and connectivity around the world.