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IAM Delta Flight Attendants

IAM Thanks Flight Attendants on International Cabin Crew Day

Today is International Cabin Crew Day, the first ever designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). On behalf of the entire Machinists Union, I offer a sincere thank you to all IAM-represented Flight Attendants and Flight Attendants around the world for all you do to keep us safe when we fly.

Like many customer facing airline employees, Flight Attendants see passengers at their best and their worst. Whether passengers are traveling on a long-awaited vacation or to say goodbye to a beloved family member, Flight Attendants handle every situation at 30,000 feet and are always the face of professionalism and caring.

During the current global pandemic, Flight Attendants have been on the front lines reuniting families and helping people repatriate. They help transport the medical personnel who are traveling to help us all. This is all done at the risk of exposing themselves and their families to serious illness. The courage Flight Attendants are displaying every day deserves our appreciation and heartfelt thanks.

The Machinists Union worked with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to successfully lobby ICAO to recognize May 31st each year as International Cabin Crew Day. The day was designated to recognize the critical safety role of Flight Attendants in the maintenance of flight and cabin safety and the protection of passengers, crew and aircraft alike. The IAM had planned celebratory activities for today in coordination with the ITF, but the global pandemic forced us to shelve our plans to comply with the restrictions that are still in place in many locations.

Although there are many graduating seniors and their families who are celebrating this year with much less fanfare than expected, nothing can diminish their accomplishments. The same is true for Flight Attendants today. While the global celebration the IAM and ITF had prepared for won’t be taking place, the appreciation we have for all Flight Attendants is unshakeable. Labeling Flight Attendants as essential workers is a gross understatement.

To every IAM Flight Attendant, I thank you for the work you do for your industry, your passengers and your union every day. I am proud that you are an integral part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the world’s largest airline union.

In closing, I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch a video prepared by IAM Flight Attendant Representatives showing their appreciation for their Flight Attendant colleagues.

Sito Pantoja


IAM, Congress Tells Treasury to Protect Airline Workers Pay and Benefits Under CARES Act

At the urging of the IAM, 75 US Representatives demanded US airlines, including Delta, comply with the terms and conditions of the CARES Act.
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2020 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today applauded a letter written by 75 members of Congress, led by U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.), to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that presses Treasury to issue CARES Act guidance that prohibits reducing hours, pay and benefits.

“We thank Congresswoman Schakowsky, and all 75 U.S. Representatives, for demanding that the CARES Act protect airline workers’ pay and benefits, as mandated by law,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “Greedy airline executives will not get away with taking taxpayer money with one hand and then slashing their pay and benefits with the other. The IAM will continue to lead the charge to protect all airline workers’ pay and benefits.”

As a response to the worst financial crisis in U.S. airline industry history brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. airlines received $50 billion under the CARES Act, with $25 billion in direct grants to be utilized exclusively for the continuation of airline workers’ pay, benefits and employment. Airlines such as United, Delta, JetBlue and Republic Airways received almost $12 billion combined and then announced forced reductions of hours worked, and consequently pay and benefits, of tens of thousands of workers.

“Congress’ intent when it included Air Carrier Worker Support provisions was to prevent airline workers from suffering the immediate negative economic effects of a virus they had no ability to prevent,” wrote Rep. Schakowsky and 75 other members of Congress. “Reducing hours while ‘maintaining rate of pay’ goes directly against this goal and places these airlines out of compliance with the CARES Act.”

The deadline for Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to respond is June 5, 2020.

Read the letter here.

Machinists Union to Delta and JetBlue: You Are Not Above the Law

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020 -- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today reiterated its demand that Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways restore workers’ pay and benefits. Delta and JetBlue combined have accepted approximately $6.5 billion under the CARES Act in taxpayer funded airline bailout money intended to maintain workers’ jobs, pay and benefits until at least Sept. 30, 2020.

Earlier this month, the IAM filed a federal lawsuit against United Airlines after the carrier announced similar plans to reduce all full-time ground workers’ hours, which would have reduced their pay and benefits. United then reversed course and suspended its plan.

"Delta and JetBlue may not have reduced hourly pay rates, but they did reduce weekly, monthly and yearly pay rates, just as United tried to do,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The undeniable result is workers are involuntarily taking home less money to support their families. A pay cut is a pay cut.”

Both Delta and JetBlue applied for and received taxpayer funds under the Payroll Support Program component of the CARES Act, which required airlines to maintain workers’ jobs, pay and benefits as a condition of taking the funds.

In letters to the CEOs of Delta and JetBlue, 13 Senators led by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote, “Your workers supported relief for airlines on the condition that their jobs, pay, and benefits would be protected. On April 23, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers wrote you a letter opposing your mandatory time off policy, and noting that, ‘The IAM, along with the all the other AFL-CIO affiliated transportation unions, and Delta JetBlue workers, fought for the federal stimulus to protect airline workers and save the airline industry from the ravages of the novel coronavirus pandemic,’ but that your company is ‘using that good faith support of airline workers around the country and at every carrier to [undermine the interest of your own workforces].’”

“We called on Delta and JetBlue to reverse course over three weeks ago and they have thumbed their noses at their employees, Congress and American taxpayers,” continued Pantoja. “Delta and JetBlue are not above the law and should immediately restore their workers’ pay and benefits as required under the CARES Act.”

After IAM’s Pressure, United Backs Off Forced Furlough Plan

IAM Local Lodge 1726 in Boston prepare to picket United Airlines.
The IAM’s campaign and the resulting public outrage against United Airlines has caused the carrier to back away from its illegal schemeto force 15,000 full-time IAM members into part-time positions.

After accepting $5 billion from taxpayers as part of the CARES Act, United made the unilateral decision to drastically reduce the wages, retirement benefits, and paid leave of IAM-represented Fleet Service and Passenger Service members.The IAM quickly responded with a lawsuit, alleging United had violated the intent of the CARES Act, as well as the Railway Labor Act and the IAM’s collective bargaining agreements with the carrier.

United has since changed course, instead offering IAM members the opportunity to voluntarily work fewer hours without losing their full-time status. The carrier, however, has left the door open to resuming its forced reduction to part-time program.

“While today it appears that, thanks to your hard work and solidarity, we have won an important battle, we have not yet won the war,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “We will monitor United’s action closely to see what further legal and congressional action may become necessary.”

United’s plan drew bipartisan scorn, including from U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). More than 12,000 messages were sent to members of Congress from the IAM’s action alert asking lawmakers to intervene.

The IAM’s campaign captivated the attention of the entire labor movement, since United’s action threatened to spur other companies to mistreat workers while accepting taxpayer dollars from coronavirus relief legislation. The International Transport Workers’ Federation supported IAM members in a letter to United Airlines, urging the carrier to reconsider forced layoffs.

American Airlines challenged United’s assertion that the CARES Act’s airline relief section allowed for furloughs.

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sounded the alarm with President Trump, asking the White House to step in and prevent United from moving forward with the furloughs.

“With over 30 million Americans out of work, now is not the time for unscrupulous companies to undermine the clear intent of the federal relief effort aimed at worker retention,” wrote Martinez and Trumka. “Is it too much to ask corporations like United to honor their commitment under the CARES Act?”

The IAM’s campaign made national headlines, including in the Chicago TribuneCNBCForbes and CBS 2 Chicago.

The IAM represents more than 30,000 members at United Airlines and is the largest airline union in North America.

Machinists Union Opposes Delta and JetBlue Taking Bailout Money and Cutting Workers’ Pay

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2020 -- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today demanded that Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways, who received taxpayer funded federal funds, reverse course and restore airline workers pay.

“The payroll support component for air carriers in the CARES Act requires that taxpayer-funded grant dollars be used to maintain the pay and benefits of the dedicated JetBlue and Delta workers who have made your airlines successful and who are risking their lives every day by providing essential services to the American public,” said IAM District 141 and 142 Presidents Mike Klemm and Dave Supplee in a letter to the two airlines’ CEOs. “It is our understanding that tens of thousands of Delta and JetBlue workers have taken unpaid voluntary leaves in order to aid the carriers in reducing labor costs, yet you have implemented unconscionable policies to reduce the pay of those workers that remain. At Delta, thousands of workers are being forced to work less hours per week without pay […] At JetBlue, workers have been forced to take 24 days of unpaid leave from now until September 30, 2020. The grant money that you demanded and received was calculated using these workers’ compensation and is meant to maintain their salaries and benefits through this crisis.”

Both Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways applied for and received direct, taxpayer funded federal grants under the CARES Act. As a condition of taking the direct grant federal funds, air carriers are prohibited from cutting airline workers pay and benefits and from laying off workers until September 30, 2020.

“Hundreds of thousands of IAM members in every sector of our union proudly called elected officials and demanded action to protect the industries in which we work,” continued Klemm and Supplee. “Now, opportunist corporate actors such as yourselves are using that good faith support of airline workers around the country and at every carrier to screw your own workforces and greedily undermine the intent of the federal stimulus funds that you demanded.”

The entire letter is available here.

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