The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is currently holding their 40th Assembly in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that regulates the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to guarantee safe and orderly growth.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) participated as part of the International Transportation Workers’ Federation (ITF) Delegation to ensure our members and all airline workers around the globe had their voices heard.
“Airlines are there to lobby for their benefit and, ultimately, their profit,” said Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The ITF is the only organization at the Assembly whose sole intention is promoting and protecting airline workers’ rights. The IAM is proud to participate in the ICAO Assembly and lead the ITF’s Civil Aviation Section, which represents more than 2 million aviation workers across the globe.”
“Our main goals were to promote two different working papers,” said District Lodge 142 General Chair and ExpressJet Flight Attendant Sara Gonzales, who represented the Machinists Union at the Assembly. “One paper would recognize May 31 as International Cabin Crew Day. This day would celebrate the critical safety and security functions the cabin crew/flight attendants perform. Too often, Flight Attendants are only acknowledged for providing passenger comfort, but this proposed day of recognition would call attention to their primary role and responsibility.”
In addition, the IAM and ITF sought to promote the Montreal Protocol 2014, which deals with cutting the jurisdictional red tape for disruptive passengers on international flights and ensures that unruly passengers are prosecuted instead of released on technicalities.
Both papers were adopted by the Assembly.
Along with the two working papers, there were also comments made on multi-party liberalization and environmental issue working papers. The IAM/ITF recognizes the serious threat of climate change and made certain the ICAO was aware that transitioning towards a sustainable planet must also be economically and socially fair for workers. The IAM/ITF asserted that a multi-party approach to liberalization must contain social and environmental safeguards.
The IAM/ITF also strongly expressed that workers have no interest in replicating the flags of convenience model that decimated the maritime industry working conditions in the aviation industry.
The assembly will continue through October 4, 2019.