Quick, which US workers are among the most likely to have a union in the private sector? Construction workers? Nope. Steelworkers or coal miners? Uh-uh. Try flight attendants.1

Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) president, burst into the public’s consciousness in early 2019 when she called for a general strike to support furloughed federal workers and end President Donald Trump’s federal government shutdown. The Twitterverse lit up with joyful surprise about this new, charismatic labor star; she was bold, visionary, and not at all what anyone expected from a union leader.2

In fact, Sara Nelson comes out of a union that has consistently been on the cutting edge of the American labor movement, winning elections and redefining standards in a core industry since flight attendants first unionized in 1945. In the 1970s, when nearly all flight attendants were female, they used their union to turn what was...

You do not currently have access to this content.