President Clinton's new aviation safety plan, "Aviation Safety Action Program" (ASAP), may have a difficult time getting off the ground.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), AFL-CIO said the White House's new safety initiative is no substitute for a real whistleblower law.
"While any program to improve airline safety must be viewed as a good thing, this new program falls short of the need for a real, unencumbered law that protects aviation workers who report safety problems," said AFA President Patricia Friend.
The AFA is particularly concerned that the hotline, proposed by the White House, does not provide sufficient protection to aviation workers who report major problems.
"Aviation employees, including flight attendants, pilots and mechanics, need the strong protections from company reprisals offered by legal whistleblower protections," said the AFA.
The need for real whistleblower legislation is also supported by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a non-profit organization that provides support for whistleblowers.
"Confidential hotlines are a fine start, but if there is a cover-up, genuine whistleblower protection is a necessity," said Tom Devine, GAP's legal director. "Otherwise, employees may risk their professional lives to ensure that the public is safe."
Friend said the AFA will continue to pursue whistleblower legislation in Congress to make sure that all aviation workers have the ability to report safety hazards without fear of reprisals.