The Keynote Address at the 61st Annual Eugene Debs – Lucy Gonzalez Parsons – A. Philip Randolph Dinner was given by Sara Nelson, International President of the AFA-CWA and “rising star of the labor movement” (New York Times).
Sara Nelson took office as the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO on June 1, 2014, and she is currently serving her second four-year term.
Sara became a United Airlines Flight Attendant in 1996 and has been a union activist since nearly the beginning of her career, including serving as strike chair and leading communications for nearly 10 years at AFA’s United chapter. Sara is passionate about AFA’s mis- sion to achieve fair compensation, job security, and improved quality of life for aviation’s first responders as well as a safe, healthy and secure cabin for passengers and crew alike. She believes Flight Attendants can play a pivotal role in strengthening the Labor Movement with more public contact than almost any other job and access to every corner of the earth.
Sara led AFA’s efforts to achieve eighteen legislative victories in
the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, including achieving a two hour increase in minimum legal rest for Flight Attendants and other e orts to combat fatigue on the job. Before that, she led the 90-day campaign to reverse national security policy to keep knives and other weapons on planes. She also crafted the campaign for “100,00 Eyes in the Skies,” which successfully resulted in mandatory training for Flight Attendants to recognize and report human trafficking.
Sara has served as a leading voice on issues facing women in the workplace and across the country, encouraging women everywhere to “Join Unions, Run Unions.” Sara highlighted aviation safety and security risks during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and called for a General Strike. In February, the New York Times called her “America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant.”
Sara grew up in Corvallis, Oregon and earned a bachelor’s degree from Principia College with majors in English and Education. She resides in the DC area with her husband, David Borer and son Jack.
Recorded May 11, 2019