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How Flight Attendants Fought Again Towards Sexism within the Airline Trade

How Flight Attendants Fought Again Towards Sexism within the Airline Trade


In 1968, Northwest employed 4 males off the road to be pursers. I known as the director of labor relations and stated, “You should publish this bid!” After they did, many ladies have been intimidated, however I utilized and acquired the job.

We needed to work with navy air contracts. In occasions of emergency, the U.S. navy has a proper to commandeer plane for use on a navy foundation. We flew to Vietnam very often through the Tet offensive in 1968. I used to be a purser, however I used to be new and didn’t have any seniority, so I used to be assigned to these flights. We’d deliver 165 troopers to Okinawa, then shuttle them to Vietnam and convey 165 again — hopefully. We acquired out and in of Vietnam as shortly as potential as a result of there have been missiles going forwards and backwards.

We didn’t have a leg to face on legally till the Civil Rights Act, which included discrimination based mostly on gender. That was our renaissance.

In 1967, I turned the pinnacle of the union at Northwest, and negotiated the primary nondiscriminatory contract with the airline. We might show ladies flight attendants had equal abilities and obligations. That’s once we introduced again the stewardesses who have been fired as a result of they have been over 32, or as a result of they have been obese or as a result of they have been married.

In 1969, negotiations for the following contract commenced. The negotiating committee was dominated by males. I had anticipated modifications, however Northwest refused to incorporate language that might deal with ladies pursers the identical manner as male pursers. I talked to a labor lawyer, who stated we had a case. In the end, 70 p.c of the union signed on. The airline dragged it out for 15 years — took it to the Supreme Court docket twice, however the case was remanded again to the Federal District Court docket of Appeals, the place Ruthie Bader Ginsburg was the decide who’d written the opinion in our favor.



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