HELLO AND WELCOME TO MACHINISTS ON THE HILL, a twice-monthly roundup of legislative advocacy on behalf of IAM members.
Produced by: IAM Legislative and Communications Departments
CONGRESS FIGHTS TO PROTECT AIRLINE WORKERS: U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chuy Garcia (D-IL) and Katie Porter (D-CA) led a letter pressing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue CARES Act guidance that prohibits reducing hours, pay and benefits for airline 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,” writes 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.”
“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.”
The IAM is leading the fight to stop airlines who received billions of CARES Act dollars from reducing the hours, wages and benefits of their employees.
TCU-IAM FIGHTS FOR JOBS, CALLS OUT AMTRAK OVER FURLOUGHS AND INSUFFICIENT FUNDING REQUEST: Amtrak asked Congress this week for nearly $1.5 billion in additional funding for fiscal 2021, while simultaneously announcing cuts to 20 percent of its workforce.
TCU-IAM is calling on Congress to help Amtrak keep essential transportation services going in rural America, and keep thousands of our hard-working members on the job, who have been true heroes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. TCU-IAM will continue to fight for their jobs and benefits.
READ: Amtrak to cut up to 20 percent of workforce as coronavirus takes toll The Washington Post
PUTTING WORKERS AHEAD OF CORPORATE PROFITS:U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with more than 80 lawmakers, recently sent a letter advocating for working people to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The letter calls on Powell and Mnuchin to apply appropriate constraints to corporations receiving federal dollars from coronavirus relief legislation, including:
SUPPLY CHAINS IN MEXICO EXPOSED BY COVID-19: Pentagon officials recently raised serious concerns over disrupted supply chains located in Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IAM has been warning about offshoring components and parts for years.
“Bringing supply chains home from Mexico and China will take more than tweets, press releases and op-eds by the Administration,” wrote IAM Chief of Staff and Director of Trade and Globalization Owen Herrnstadt in an article posted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
“Returning jobs to America requires a robust, comprehensive strategy that coordinates policies in trade, currency valuation, investment, financing, energy, technology, tax, education, training, government procurement, and labor,” said Herrnstadt.
IAM FIGHTS TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY: The IAM and the Alliance for Retired Americans came out against the Trump administration’s proposal to allow Americans to cut their future Social Security benefits for some quick cash today.
The administration wants people to “borrow” money from their own future Social Security benefits and then pay interest on it every year until they retire, according to a report from the Washington Post.
QUOTABLE: “We cannot allow this crisis to be used as an excuse to gut the retirements of millions of working Americans,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The IAM and our allies in the labor movement will stand strong, as we always have, to protect the retirements we have earned.”
VETERANS AFFAIRS SUICIDE PREVENTION TREATMENT PROGRAM SAVED: NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 successfully stopped a provision in the next House coronavirus relief package that would have authorized a VA grant program to outsource veteran suicide prevention treatment to private entities.
The Trump administration seeks this authority to provide these grants directly from the VA Secretary without any additional oversight, open competition, or reasonable requirements from its recipients. If passed, it would endanger veterans at their most vulnerable. No doubt the Trump administration will try again in the Senate version of the next coronavirus relief package and other legislative vehicles this year.
Tax credit for keeping workers on payrolls draws bipartisan interest Wall Street Journal