MCKEE, ERIN

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MCKEE, ERIN

Transcript and audio of oral history interview, Charleston, S.C., 2013 November 14
Interviewed by Jason Pino, Graduate Assistant, The Citadel History Department.
Transcript 36 p., 1 CD 1:05:36.
Erin McKee was born in Brooklyn, New York. Right after college, Mckee started her career as a flight attendant with National Airlines. When this company went bankrupt she joined Tower Air. In this interview, Mckee recalls some of the most dangerous, most difficult, and most satisfying moments she experienced working on international flights. In the ‘80s when she started working with the airline industry, flight attendants were expected to look attractive, they have to be slim, have their nails done, and their her hair up. It took time and work to change the requirements for applicants to meet the real focus of the position ‘the main reason that a flight attendant is on the airplane is if there's an emergency, to get you out of that airplane safely. It's not to look good. It's not to serve you meals really. You're there by law, federal regulations, to get people out of a plane in a certain amount of time if there's an emergency." At the end of '80s early '90s McKee and her coworkers organized a union to demand better regulations regarding the scheduling and number of hours they were forced to work. She became the secretary/treasurer of her union and was part of the negotiating committee. Because of her experience, she went to Washington, D. C. to testify before a legislative subcommittee about duty time legislation. Mckee moved to Charleston in 1996 and around 1998 Tower Air closed and she was out of work. She thought that her vast experience with unions would help her to find a job quickly but her background was not seen as an asset in a right to work state. She finally started working with American Income Life Insurance and then with Electrical Workers' Building Trades Local IBEW776. In 2013 she became the President of the State Labor Council (AFL- CIO).

2010.023.010

Click here for interview

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