The 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) supports the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act, which would strengthen Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversight of commercial airline repair facilities outside the United States.
The IAM is the largest airline union in North America, representing over 100,000 airline workers.
The federal legislation, introduced by U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), would include measures such as unannounced FAA inspections of foreign repair stations, set minimum qualifications for mechanics and other workers, including drug testing and background checks, and require air carriers to submit detailed maintenance reports to the FAA.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 900 aircraft maintenance and repair stations have been certified by the FAA outside the U.S., which includes countries such as China, Singapore and Brazil.
“Our hard-working members proudly maintain commercial airplanes in North America for carriers such as American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and British Airways to name a few, and safety and quality is always a top priority,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It’s long overdue that carrier facilities outside the U.S., abide by the high-quality standards that help ensure smooth and safe travel for passengers and the airline workers. The current lack of uniform regulatory standards and oversight sets an unlevel field with carriers increasingly enticed by the financial incentives to push this work overseas. This results in job losses in the U.S. and risks passenger safety.”
“Congress should move swiftly to pass this very important legislation that would set a series of safety and security requirements for overseas facilities,” said Richie Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “There should be a uniform level of maintenance requirements whether in the U.S., or overseas. Our IAM members are tasked with this critical job of maintenance here in North America and it’s simply unfair that they are forced to compete with the lower standards of work done at foreign facilities.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.