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NATCA Joins Aviation Union Brothers and Sisters in Calling for Passage of H.R. 8504

NATCA stands in solidarity with our aviation union sisters and brothers. Thousands of furloughs and layoffs went into effect Thursday, in the absence of a coronavirus relief deal. However, airline executives said that if a deal were reached within a few days they would reverse course. Without additional economic stimulus, the effects on the nation’s air transportation system and workers charged with keeping the system safe will be dramatic.

Earlier Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked airlines to hold off on any furloughs or layoffs for the tens of thousands of employees facing job cuts and vowed that Congress will enact payroll support. Just before the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned this week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) tried to bring a standalone aid bill for airline workers to the House floor, but it was blocked by procedural issues. As a result, the House adjourned on Friday without taking any action on relief for thousands of aviation workers subject to layoffs. 

The Senate returns on Monday, Oct. 5, and the House on Tuesday, though votes are not expected until Wednesday at the earliest in the House.

On Friday, Oct. 2, NATCA joined other transportation unions in signing a letter to Members of Congress calling for them to act. Here is that letter:

October 2, 2020

Dear Representative:

As the representatives of millions of essential workers who have put their lives on the line to work through the pandemic, we urge you to immediately pass H.R. 8504, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, which extends the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP). 

There has never been any doubt or ambiguity about the jobs that would be lost if Congress failed to meet yesterday’s deadline to extend the PSP. Now that the legal authority of the PSP to prevent furloughs has expired and a broader relief package has not been approved, hundreds of thousands of aviation workers are losing their jobs and their benefits in the middle of a pandemic. This legislation addresses this urgent problem, prevents a further spike in unemployment, and ensures that we don’t lose an experienced, safety certified, and credentialed workforce that will be difficult and expensive to replace.

Since early summer, we have remained steadfast in our call to lawmakers to pass a comprehensive COVID relief package that addresses the dire economic needs facing our nation’s aviation and broader transportation workforce. Sadly, due to stalled economic relief negotiations, those needs remain unmet. But airline workers simply cannot wait another minute. The deadline has passed. Congress must pass, and the President must sign H.R. 8504 into law.

We again call on Congress and the White House to do the right thing and stand up for frontline workers and their families who have sacrificed so much in our time of need. 

Joe DePete, President, Air Line Pilots Association
Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
Sito Pantoja, General Vice President for Transportation, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Mike Perrone, National President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
John Samuelsen, International President, Transport Workers Union of America
Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Christopher M. Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America
D. Taylor, International President, UNITE HERE
Larry I. Willis, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

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