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December 31, 2001
Flight Attendant Sues Airline Over Bomb-Search Policy
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ew requirement by Midwest Express Airlines that flight attendants look for bombs on planes has resulted in a federal lawsuit from an official of the flight attendants' union.

The search requirement was adopted by Milwaukee-based Midwest Express after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the suit, brought by union official and flight attendant Susan B. Stein.

Stein, president of the Association of Flight Attendants Master Executive Council for Midwest Express flight attendants, protested the rule in both a letter to the company and at a training session held in preparation for one of her flights, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In her suit, Stein said she acted because the union believes flight attendants lack the proper training to conduct bomb searches.

When she raised her objections at the training session, one of the trainers told her not to discuss union business on company property, the suit says. When Stein again protested the new policy, the airline removed her from her assigned trip.

Management representatives told her to leave the airport immediately, the suit says.

In October, after an investigation, Midwest Express suspended Stein for 45 days without pay. It also threatened further discipline for "any future unprofessional or inappropriate behavior," according to the suit.

The suit alleges that Midwest Express suspended Stein "based on her advocacy on a safety issue affecting all flight attendants." It asks a judge to rescind the suspension and to award Stein back pay and benefits. It also seeks an order prohibiting Midwest Express from disciplining employees for exercising their rights under federal labor law.

The Sentinel Journal reported Thursday that it could not reach Midwest Express officials for comment.


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