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Why Do I Feel So Tired?

By Ed Wytkind

TTD President Edward Wytkind

For sleep-deprived bloggers like me, I can just pound down an extra cup of French Roast to get going in the morning. But for those who keep our skies safe, including pilots—passenger and cargo—and flight attendants, they need much more.

They need fair and science-based federal rules that give them a chance to be well-rested, alert and ready to act without warning.

That is why the Obama Administration issued new rules dealing with a tired pilot workforce and why we are pushing to make sure those rules also apply to air cargo pilots.  That is also why we’ve endorsed the Airline First Responder Workplace Fairness Act (H.R. 3824) introduced by Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), a bill that advances long overdue measures to deal with flight attendant fatigue.

It is past time for flight attendant fatigue rules to be updated to reflect the changing demands of the job and to ensure safe and humane working conditions. We have the scientific evidence and we certainly have the tired workforce to justify action.  Let’s stop stalling and do something about it.

It is also vital that we eliminate the cargo airline “carve out” in the new pilot fatigue regulations.  There is no justification for cargo carriers that share the same airspace with passenger carriers to get a pass.  Their pilots are tired too.

All transportation unions see this as a severe problem.  That is why TTD’s Executive Committee, comprised of 32 union leaders, adopted a policy statement calling on Congress and the Administration to act.

No worker, regardless of vocation or skill level, can do his or her job without adequate rest and recovery time.  It is past time for the airlines to stop pushing their employees to the brink by denying them adequate rest.  As the tragic Colgan Air crash in 2009 taught us, tired workers can have serious consequences.

The airlines are not producing a work environment for flight crews that has proper safeguards – our government needs to make them do that.

-Edward Wytkind
@EdWytkind

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