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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airline Workers Push Congress For Mask Mandate

Seth Wenig

Airline worker unions have urged Congress to pass a bill that would mandate masks nationwide on all forms of transportation.

Sara Nelson is president of the Association of Flight Attendants. She said the aviation industry has been crippled by the pandemic with over 100,00 airline workers unemployed. Nelson blames a lack of a strict mask mandate.

"What is at risk in our workplace now though is that this is community spread and as the cases have gone up in the community. So have the cases going up for crew members and so has the risk, the continued risk, of our financial security just like every other American," Nelson said.

Nelson spoke alongside U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who is pushing approval of the Essential Transportation Employee Safety Act. The legislation would protect airline workers and create financial incentives for states to implement mask mandates.

Blumenthal pointed to CDC data that shows mask wearing would help save up to 130,000 lives within the next few months.

“That’s a lot of people. That is potential heartbreak and grief that we can avoid by simple steps that not only protect others, but yourself,” Blumenthal said.