Today in labor history: Air Line Stewardesses Association formed

Today in 1945, five flight attendants formed the Air Line Stewardesses Association (ALSA), the first-ever labor union representing female flight attendants. The first president was Ada Brown Greenfield. ALSA was partly a powerful response to the industry’s social climate of the time, in which women were forced to retire at the age of 32 and had harsh height and appearance requirements.

The union later became the Association of Flight Attendants in 1973. In 2004, in order to better maintain services after a massive layoff of flight attendants following the September 11th attacks, the AFA voted to merge with the Communication Workers of America, which is how it remains today.

Photo: Stewardess serving dinner aboard an American airliner, circa 1941.   Library of Congress



Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.