Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on September 3, 1972 · Page 83
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 83

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 3, 1972
Page 83
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'Why not?' I was interviewed, accepted, and sent to Chicago for training. There were 15 other guys in my class and 56 girls. We learned serving procedures, communications, teamwork and emergency procedures. When I was graduated this past |une 19th, United gave me $150. That's sort of a graduation bonus. While you're in training you don't get any salary." Nouwens, who's-based in Chicago, "where three other stewards and I have a pad in Schiller Park," says, "I really like this job, I fly the Los Angeles- Seattle-Chicago route, and it's great. "At the start I thought the hostesses on the run would resent me. Not at nil. They've been friendly, helpful, as nice as they could be. I can reach higher than they can, and I can move heavier stuff, and they don't mind asking me to do i t . "As for passengers, I thought at first that a few might consider me gay. But none has. Mostly the passengers have been curious. They ask me what I do, and I tell them I'm a cabin attendant with the same duties as a hostess. "For a young guy who wants to get ahead in the transportation business," Nouwens asserts, "which I do,'being a steward is the perfect entry." 150 men flying At this writing, United Air Lines cm- ploys approximately 6000 stewardesses and 150 stewards on its domestic routes. It loses 15 percent of its hostesses annually. As yet it hasn't lost any of its stewards. It is sure, however, to lose one, John Siefer, 26, of South Bend, Ind , who was laid off (the polite word is "furloughed") a year ago last April when the airline business slumped badly. Siefer was working as a flight engineer at the time, earning $1150 a month. "United," he explains, "has an excellent personnel policy, it looks On the carppi/s at United Air Lines" Training Center in Elk Grow, III., Walt Price lr.) from Salt Lake City and Steve Ceas from Garden Grove, Calif,, engage in bull session with student /KM I esses. All r/ are coed. In test case, Ce/i'o Diaz sued Pan Am over flight attendant's job and won. within the company first for replacements. For example, when the company started its steward program this year, it gave first crack to ticket sales agents, flight engineers, and others within the organization who'd been furloughed. Rather than hang around and wait indefinitely to be called back as .) flight engineer, I signed on as a steward. Half a loaf is better than none. "In the past two months," Siefer says, "I've flown Washington, Cleveland, Atlanta, Miami. Business is picking up, and I expect to be called back as a flight engineer. Eventually I hope to work my way up as a co-pilot, then to captain. If that comes to pass I'll probably be the first captain who was also a steward. The experience has been invaluable. I've learned about passengers firsthand/' Men must be hired Although United, Western and other carriers have been the first to train and hire stewards, all the major airlines in the country will have to follow suit, for by law, men are entitled to request and receive equal job opportunities with women. The law which makes that equality mandatory-is the 1964 Civil Rights Act which provides equal access to the job market for both men and women. One exception in the act, however, declares that discrimination in hiring based on sex is valid only when the essence of the business operation would be undermined by not hiring members of one sex exclusively. In 1967 a young man, Celio Diaz, applied for a job as a cabin attendant with Pan Am. He was rejected, because Pan Am restricted cabin attendants to women. Diaz thereupon filed charges, accusing .Pan Am of unlawfully discriminating against him solely on grounds of sex. Pan Am said that was true and explained that in the case of cabin attendants, the female sex was a bona fide occupational qualification, another exception in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The case went to trial with Pan Am contending that the performance of female cabin attendants was better in the sense that they were superior in such non-mechanical aspects of the job as "providing reassurance to anxious passengers, giving courteous personali/ed service and, in general, making flights as pleasurable as possible . . ," Pan Am also contended that its passengers preferred overwhelmingly to be served by females and that the psychological needs of its passengers were better served by young women. The trial court found in favor of Pan Am. But Diaz, still insisting that he was being discriminated against as a man, filed a class action with the U.S. Court of Appeals. Last year that court reversed the lower court, declaring: "What we hold is that because the non-mechanical aspects of the job of flight attendant are not 'reasonably necessary to the normal operation' of Pan Am's business, Pan Am cannot exclude all males simply because most males may not perform adequately." Once the decision was handed down, Pan Am quickly complied with it and today has 100 stewards. Males on foreign lines Air stewards are nothing new. Foreign carriers have had them for years as has United on its mainland to Hawaii runs. Stewards on domestic routes, however, are new, or so at least, the airlines contend. Over the years the American male has edged his way into becoming a nurse, a telephone operator, a hairdresser and a housekeeper. It is just a question of a little time before women become airline pilots, and the world becomes occupationally unisexed. lohn Sieier, who took a five-week steward training course, shows a certain flair serving drink to United Air Lines passenger /acque/i'ne Grabelle.

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