Representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) met with staff from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to discuss Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Republic Airways, three airlines that have accepted federal bailout funds under the CARES Act and then cut non-union workers’ pay.
The CARES Act was signed into law in late March and provided $50 billion in federal grants and guaranteed loans to sustain all airline workers’ jobs, pay and benefits until September 30, 2020 amid the worst global economic conditions in airline industry history.
“What Delta, JetBlue and Republic are doing is wrong,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The IAM and the airline industry fought together for the protection of airline workers’ jobs, pay and benefits and to stabilize the industry through the passage of the CARES Act. Now, these carriers are cutting non-union workers’ pay and benefits. Congress and the executive branch need to act now to ensure taxpayer funds are used as they were intended, or this could happen to tens of thousands of other airline workers.”
Delta, JetBlue and Republic, for example, have received, and are set to receive, over $6.5 billion under the CARES Act to be exclusively used for the maintenance of employee jobs, pay and benefits.
“There needs to be a hard look at what these airlines are doing,” continued Pantoja.
The IAM is the largest airline union in the world and represents over 600,000 members. More information about the Machinists Union is available at www.goiam.org.
The global airline industry has been rocked by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with US carriers reducing their flight schedules by up to 90 percent. You'd have to go back to the 1950s to find fewer people traveling by air than they are now. Needless to say, we are in uncharted waters and airline workers are especially at risk.
Given the dire circumstances, how would having union representation help?
With IAM representation, Republic AMTs would have protections that they do not have right now. Two critical components of a union contract that are sometimes overlooked are how layoffs are conducted, if necessary, and how do workers get called back to work after a layoff (recall rights).
Every IAM contract contains provisions on how layoffs are conducted. The central principle is that seniority governs layoffs and laid-off workers receive severance pay. Without a union contract, Republic Airways could layoff AMTs without regard to seniority and offer no severance pay. Management could violate seniority in a myriad of ways and layoff AMTs by location, by shift, subjective performance or by any other reason that management deems appropriate.
When it comes time to recall employees because the industry recovers, IAM contracts offer workers that have been laid-off "recall rights." Recall rights give the worker the right to return to their previous position, in their previous location with no loss of pay and seniority. Without a contract, Republic management would not have to recall any worker it laid off. Republic management could hire new AMTs at the bottom of the pay scale with no seniority.
During these tough times, having the most powerful and largest union in the United States, the IAM, backing up Republic AMTs would never be more important and valuable than it is right now.
If you haven't yet signed an election authorization card (a-card) to request the right to vote in a union representation election, you can request an a-card online and the IAM will mail one out to you.
REQUEST AN A-CARD HERE.
In early March, Republic upper management met with the unionized pilots and flight attendants to address their concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic. Republic mechanics were not included in this meeting, nor were we included in the Company communication regarding the content of what was discussed.
Republic management is currently working with the UNIONIZED pilots and UNIONIZED flight attendants on PAID Leaves of Absences; once again, THE MECHANICS ARE NOT INCLUDED!
The time is NOW for you to ensure you have representation and have a voice in your future!
Request and sign an authorization card!
Please click here to contact an IAM representative.
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