Flight attendants petition to ban small knives on planes

WASHINGTON -The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has taken its opposition to letting airplane passengers carry small knives on board aircraft one step further, with a public petition to the White House demanding it overrule that Transportation Security Administration edict.

In a message on CWA’s website, the union wants 100,000 signatures by April 5 on their demand that the Obama administration reverse TSA chief John Pistole’s order.

And this time, unlike when AFA-CWA and other flight attendant unions first protested, the union specifically reminded the White House that the knife ban was instituted after the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

“While pilots are now behind locked doors, knives can still be used to attack passengers and flight attendants. We can’t afford the risk,” the petition reads in part. Members of “the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA know this all too well. They are the first responders and the last line of defense on airplanes.”

The flight attendant unions picked up support for the knife ban from the Steelworkers. “The decision to allow knives on planes flies in the face of logic and puts our dedicated flight attendants, as well as countless innocent passengers, needlessly in harm’s way. There is no good reason to do this and a million reasons not to do it,” said Steelworkers President Leo Gerard.

Photo: A confiscated knife lies on display, in Newark, N.J. A TSA screener at Newark-Liberty International Airport spotted the knife concealed in a carry-on bag, Oct. 30, 2011. Port Authority police confiscated the knife. Transportation Security Administration/AP


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.