Republicans Look to Strip Away Transportation Workers’ Rights

House Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would establish Right to Work policies nationwide, including the airline and rail sectors. Such a law would severely affect transportation workers in their fight for economic equality and it would increase the power of corporations over their employees. This law would impede transportation workers  to effectively negotiate fair contracts.

“If the Republicans get this legislation passed, we would not have the necessary resources to continue negotiating industry leading contracts,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “Make no mistake, Right to Work is all about making sure the airlines recoup the gains the unions have made.”

Over the past year, the IAM has negotiated industry-leading wages and benefits at United and American, overwhelmingly ratified new deals on Hawaiian Airlines and have struck deals to improve the contracts at Southwest and Alaska.

“None of what IAM members achieved over the past year would have been possible under Right to Work,” continued Pantoja. “We must all come together and beat back this anti-worker legislation because our future and existence is at stake.”

Currently, so-called “Right to Work” laws exist in 26 states, which gut workers’ unions ability to effectively negotiate and represent workers. Presently, airline and railroad workers are not subject to state “Right to Work” legislation.

The following is a short list of accomplishments negotiated through collective bargaining:

United Airlines 2016 contract:

  • $1.3 billion in new wages and bonuses for nearly 30,000 members in Fleet Service, Passenger Service, Stores, Reservations and other groups. 
  • Approximately 20,000 of those members now make more than $30/hr.
  • Average ratification bonus of $3,700/member paid out in 2016.

2016 IAM-American Airlines Interim Agreement for Mechanic & Related/Fleet and Stores:

  • More than $116 million in new wages going forward per year.
  • Average 25 percent wage increases; highest industry wage rate.
  • The average IAM AMT at AA/USA will make more than $95,000/year in total wages. 

IAM-Southwest Contract:

  • $120 million in additional wages and bonuses in 2016 due to 2014 “true up” language.
  •  $27 million in wages for 6,500 members in 2014 contract.
  • $9 million in lump sum bonuses in 2014 contract

Some important facts about “Right to WorK”:

  • These laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women and people of color.
  • Workers in Right to Work states are less likely to have health insurance.
  • Right to work makes workplaces more dangerous.
  • Communities lose jobs when wages are lowered by Right to Work.
  • Right to Work does not improve the employment rate.
  • Right to Work’s true purpose is to hurt the ability of Unions to advocate for all workers and to serve as a check on corporate greed.

Find your Congressional Representatives and tell them not to support “Right to Work”.

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