A union representing air traffic controllers and nurses in North America is filing a federal lawsuit against the National Transportation Safety Board, saying the NTSB is infringing on the union’s constitutional rights by imposing mandatory uniforms.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) filed a complaint with the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia last week over the new policy announced by United Airlines last month that requires flight nurses to wear an all-white uniform.
The suit is the first by AFGE against a government agency.
The NTSB, which was created in 1947, has authority over safety at the nation’s airports, which it has not historically done.
The NTSB does not have jurisdiction over a federal facility, such as an airport.
The new rule also requires nurses in all flights to wear a black suit that is the same color as the airline’s standard flight nurse uniform, with the exception of certain air traffic control and airline flight attendants.
The new uniform policy also requires that flight nurses wear their flight nurses’ uniform at all times.
“The NTSA, however, has failed to identify a reason why it has the authority to impose uniform requirements on nurses who are not flight nurses,” the AFGE lawsuit says.
“The NTSAA’s action violates AFGE’s right to work and organize without the threat of discipline and retaliation.
The agency should immediately cease and desist from requiring flight nurses and other flight health care personnel to wear these restrictive uniforms.”
The suit was filed on behalf of the union of flight nurses by AFES National President and CEO Mark K. Staudenmaier and AFES’ National Treasurer John P. Harkins.
The AFGE is a national, nonprofit union representing more than 20,000 nurses and flight attendants in all 50 states and the District to represent the public interest.
The AFGE has argued that the uniform requirements violate federal labor law, including the National Labor Relations Act, which bars mandatory employer retaliation.
“This is a very important lawsuit to make sure that the federal government does not interfere with the right of flight health professionals to work without fear of retaliation,” Staudon said.
“This is an important lawsuit that will be heard by the federal courts.”
The NTSF is the lead agency investigating the causes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.