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Richard Johnsen Appointed Chief of Staff to the International President, Assigned to Oversee Transportation Department

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. has appointed Richard Johnsen to serve as a Chief of Staff to the International President and to oversee the IAM Transportation Department. The appointment is effective immediately.

“I welcome Brother Johnsen into this new role as Chief of Staff and look forward to continuing to represent our airline and railroad membership with vigor and strength,” said Martinez. “As global travel ramps up and we begin emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAM will lead the way in demanding fair and just treatment for the men and women who make our world move every day. I know that Brother Johnsen will not miss a beat while taking on these important responsibilities.”

Johnsen initiated into IAM Local 1781 in San Francisco in 1988 as a Mechanic Assistant for United Airlines. He served in many positions at the Local and District level and was appointed as Assistant General Chairperson for District 141M in 2000, then as a Grand Lodge Special Representative in 2001.

Johnsen served as a Transportation Grand Lodge Representative until becoming a Special Assistant to the International President in February 2021.

“I could not be more excited to take on this new role with the union I love so dearly,” said Johnsen. “I’m so grateful to International President Martinez and the Transportation Department staff and membership for this opportunity. We will seize this moment together to build on the progress made for our airline and railroad membership from coast to coast.”

The IAM Transportation Department represents the IAM’s airline and railroad members across the United States.

Help Us Save Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Today on IAM Airline Day of Action

IAM airline members are mobilizing today, Sept. 17 in 32 cities in over 20 states, either in person or virtually with Senators and Senate staff, to demand that Congress act now to pass legislation that would stem hundreds of thousands of layoffs slated to begin on October 1, 2020.

The Senate has taken two vacations and still hasn’t passed a clean extension of relief provided for airlines in the CARES Act. Time is running out. IAM members must act now to tell your Senators to support a clean extension of relief provided for airlines in the CARES Act.

Here’s how you can take part in the IAM Airline Day of Action:

1. Call your Senators at 866-829-3298 to urge them to pass a clean extension of the PSP through March 31, 2021, and to save hundreds of thousands of frontline airline workers’ jobs.

2. Email your Senators.

3. Tweet at Majority Leader McConnell and your Senators.

- We need your help, @SenateMajLdr. Without a clean extension of the airline #PayrollSupportProgram, hundreds of thousands of frontline airline workers will be furloughed when the program expires on September 30th. Please get to the negotiating table now.

- [INSERT SENATOR’S TWITTER HANDLES] Congress needs to put politics aside and get a deal done now to save the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of airline workers. Pass a clean extension of the airline #PayrollSupportProgram today.

- [INSERT SENATOR’S TWITTER HANDLES] In a few short weeks, airline workers will not have healthcare during a pandemic. Congress needs to pass a clean extension of the airline #PayrollSupportProgram now.

- [INSERT SENATOR’S TWITTER HANDLES] Airline workers have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s Congress’s turn to take care of these heroes. They need to pass a clean extension of the airline #PayrollSupportProgram now.

“The Trump Administration and strong bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate all agree that airline workers and the industry as a whole need further aid to prevent hundreds of thousands of layoffs and great harm to the U.S. economy,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The IAM calls on Senate Majority Leader McConnell to support the U.S. airline industry. This industry drives over a million jobs and pumps trillions of dollars into our economy. We cannot turn our backs on this most vital sector of our economy.”

“The airline Payroll Support Program has been one of the most successful jobs programs in U.S. history,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Congress must stop the partisanship and extend relief for hundreds of thousands of airline workers. These men and women will make their voices heard in November and they will remember who stood with them and who stood against them to save the airline industry and their livelihoods.” 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: As End of Payroll Protection Draws Near, Airlines Prepare for Furloughs

The Paycheck Support Program contained in the CARES Act is set to expire on October 1, 2020. Carriers are making plans on how to deal with its loss, and the outlook doesn’t look good for airline workers.

American Airlines is expected to announce thousands of workers will be laid-off on October 1, Southwest Airlines is eliminating 35,000 flights from its October schedule, and Air Wisconsin, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines and United Ground Express have issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN). There is no time to waste.

The only hope of staving off mass furloughs is Congress taking action to extend CARES Act protections for airline workers. What we need to save jobs is:

  • Increase PSP funding levels by an additional $32 billion (covering six months)
  • Extend requirements relating to involuntary furloughs, share repurchases, dividend payments, and collective bargaining agreements to March 31, 2021
  • Require Treasury to immediately disburse funds to every air carrier and contractor that executed a Payroll Support Program Agreement, an amount equal to their current payroll support

“These are not controversial goals,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “We already have bi-partisan support for a clean extension of the program, and President Trump has also signaled his support. What we need is for Congress to actually start doing its job and take action to save the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of airline and aviation families.”

“While the Democrats and Republicans are holding conventions, airline industry executives are preparing for the largest mass layoff in the industry’s history,” said Pantoja. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that this bi-partisan support turns into action. Words are not enough. We have a deadline. It is real, and hundreds of thousand of workers will lose their jobs if Congress continues to waste time.”

“I urge you and every member of your family to immediately call, email or visit your member of Congress and your Senators,” added Pantoja. “They must end the gridlock, stop the delay and pass this critical legislation to keep essential airline employees working.”

Please click here to alert your local representative in Congress.

Airlines Post Best Passenger Numbers Since Before Pandemic, but Lag Massively from 2019 Enplanements

More than 800,000 Americans passed through TSA checkpoints on Monday, the most since mid-March. The uptick comes as key Senators have voiced support for an additional round of payroll assistance for airlines.

According to federal data, 831,789 passengers boarded flights on Monday, marking the two best weeks for airlines in nearly five months and the second consecutive week of improvement. Despite the welcome news, overall passenger traffic remains low, at only 30% of what it was in 2019. Analysts are cautioning that the summer rush for airlines has not been enough to prevent potential job losses this fall..

“Without action from our elected officials, airline workers will face massive layoffs come October 1st” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “All airline workers need to contact their elected officials and demand action. Every day that goes by without a deal is unacceptable.”

CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS.

In July, airline executives announced plans to cut nearly 100,000 positions as soon as federal protections expire on October 1st. Overall, job losses in the sector could soar into the hundreds of thousands.

In response, a coalition of airline unions led the way and asked members to contact lawmakers asking for an extension of payroll assistance for carriers, which would postpone job cuts until at least March 2021. The largest airline union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, produced tens of thousands of messages to Congress and arranged dozens of meetings with legislators. Airlines supported the union efforts, with CEOs at United, American, and Southwest offering public efforts to follow the lobbying campaign.

The Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives rounded up a majority willing to support extending the measure. In early August, key Republican Senators and the Trump Administratuion also lent their support, leading many to believe that an additional $25 billion was becoming more likely. However, no plan to extend airline payroll assistance exists so far, and any future agreement may still be weeks away.

Although tens of thousands of Delta Air Lines employees have taken voluntary separation programs and leaves of absence, it appears that may not be enough to mitigate layoffs come this fall if no deal on the next pandemic relief measure is reached.

"If we can keep using good voluntary measures to get through this, we can mitigate furloughs but it’s probably hard to say for sure that we’ll be able to do that completely," said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

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.”

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