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IAM Delta Flight Attendants

Keep up the Pressure, Support for Airline Payroll Protection Growing in DC

The IAM, along with a coalition of airline unions, are gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. After securing support from a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House, the IAM needs your help convincing the Senate that they must act now to save hundreds of thousands of airline jobs before funding runes out on October 1.

The IAM sent a letter this week to every member of the U.S. Senate encouraging them to support a clean extension of the airline Payroll Support Program, resulting in 16 GOP Senators, led by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), throwing their support behind the programDemocratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has already pledged his caucus's support for a clean extension.

President Trump endorsed the program at a White House press conference on Wednesday.

TAKE ACTION:Tell your U.S. Senators to support a clean extension of the airline Payroll Support Program

"We are encouraged that the airlines have been in talks with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and White House Economic Advisor Kudlow about extending the program," said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja.​ "Now it’s up to the White House and Majority Leader McConnell to help the hundreds of thousands of airline families across the country whose livelihoods​ are at risk without further aid.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We already have the support of Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and applaud Sen. Gardner and the GOP senators who joined us in this critical fight to get a clean extension of the airline payroll support program. We strongly believe we have the votes in both the House and Senate to get a clean extension of the airline payroll support program passed.”

IAM Calls for Clean Extension of Airline Payroll Support Program

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Over the last four months, we have experienced the devastating effects of COVID-19. Many of us have lost family and friends, and just about all of us know someone whose life was cut short due to this vicious virus. In addition to the human suffering we have witnessed, we have also experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, which has disproportionately impacted the global airline industry with record low air travel demand.

Although passenger counts have increased since the lows in April, the industry as a whole is only moving approximately 25 percent of the amount of passengers who were flying one year ago. And while there was some optimism in June that increased bookings would continue to rise, that does not appear to be the case due to some states issuing quarantine orders and halting re-opening plans as a result of increased rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Sisters and brothers, we are facing unprecedented layoffs in October, which could put hundreds of thousands of airline workers on the unemployment line literally overnight.

On October 1, 2020, the Payroll Support Program (PSP) component of the CARES Act expires and airlines that participated in the PSP will be permitted to furlough workers. Led by the IAM, along with our sister airline unions, we have proposed a “clean extension” of the PSP, which would provide additional funding to airlines to keep workers employed through March 31, 2021.

In late June, airline labor sent a letter to congressional leaders to request that Congress pass the PSP extension. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for every single IAM member to contact their elected officials and demand that the PSP be extended through March, 31, 2021. Please ask your family members to have their voices heard, as well.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR ELECTED FEDERAL OFFICIALS.

The airline industry was set for a record year of air travel in 2020. The industry produces about $1.7 trillion in economic activity and drives approximately 10 million jobs. We cannot cut the cord on this most critical industry and allow it to implode. We must act to save our jobs and to ensure that when air travel rebounds, and it will, that we are there to facilitate a seamless transition, which will be beneficial for our industry and the economy as a whole.

Over the last four months I have never been so proud of being a representative of the Machinists Union. Under unbelievably difficult circumstances, you have courageously answered the bell and facilitated the transportation of essential goods and services to a nation in need, and you continue to do so day in and day out. You exemplify the best of our nation and you are truly the backbone of this country.

We will only be successful if ALL of our voices are heard. Our representatives need to hear from us and they need to listen to us. While we are certainly going to have to navigate some turbulent times in the near term, we WILL get through this crisis as we have others. That’s exactly what the Fighting Machinists do.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Sito Pantoja
General Vice President IAM Transportation Department

Happy Independence Day

This weekend Americans proudly celebrate our independence and ability to self-govern. We must also acknowledge that not every American is able to enjoy our freedoms equally. Our country has come a long way since 1776, but there is clearly much work to be done before everyone in this country truly has the same protections and freedom regardless of how they look, what they believe, or who they love.

We cannot forget that with our freedom comes great responsibility, both collectively and individually. While we have tremendous freedoms, there are limits. For example, we do not have the freedom to hurt innocent people. More specifically, we do not have the right to infect others with a deadly disease. When something as simple as wearing a mask over our mouth and nose and respecting social distancing guidelines becomes a political statement, we are not acting responsibly. We are acting selfishly.

Science shows that if everyone wears masks in public and adheres to social distance guidelines the spread of this disease will be dramatically reduced. It will save lives. Failure to act responsibly, however, has allowed this virus to explode to record numbers in the United States.  Though much of the world is containing the COVID virus and is gradually returning to normal, we are the global example of how NOT to handle a pandemic.

The United States still does not have a uniform nationwide response to the COVID crisis, and the world has noticed. The European Union is reopening its borders, but not to Americans because we are not properly defending ourselves against the COVID virus. We are considered a threat, and Europe does not want our failure to spread to their continent. We are also not permitted to travel to Canada, and within our own borders some states require people travelling from other states to quarantine. The lack of an effective pandemic response is hampering the industry’s recovery and will lead directly to the loss of air and rail industry jobs.

The COVID-19 virus has already cost millions of jobs around the country, but if we cannot contain it we will lose countless more. We are all responsible for our own safety and the safety of those we work with.

Never before has how we behave in our personal lives affected our job security so much.

We know how to restart the economy and resurrect the transportation industry. If we choose to ignore science and politicize safe, responsible actions, we are hurting our chances for a quick economic recovery.  While we wait for a vaccine, the immediate response is simple:

Wear a mask, or shut down the economy again;
Wear a mask, or ground the airlines and suspend rail service;
Wear a mask, or keep local businesses closed;
Wear a mask, or continue spreading the virus and killing others;

Those who refuse to wear a mask are stating publicly that they do not care if they infect others with a deadly disease. That type of self-serving action undermines the free, responsible society that we celebrate this weekend. That level of selfishness is killing people.

As we commemorate our independence we must always honor the brave women and men in our armed forces who fought, and continue to fight, to keep us safe. Considering all the heroes lives that have been sacrificed over the last 244 years so that we can enjoy our freedom today, it really isn’t too much of a personal sacrifice to wear a piece of cloth on our face when we are out in public for the next few months.

I hope you and your families enjoy your Independence Day celebration, stay safe and, just as important, keep others safe.

Sito Pantoja
General Vice President

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

GENERAL VICE PRESIDENT

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.

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