Congress Tells Treasury to Protect Airline Workers Pay and Benefits Under 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.
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