At the Machinists Union’s request, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today wrote a letter to the United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, urging him to issue guidance clarifying that unilateral decisions to reduce workers’ hours, and as a result their pay and benefits, are prohibitive activities under the CARES Act. They implored him to conduct vigorous oversight of recipients’ adherence to these agreements.
“As you are aware, Congress’ intent of the Air Carrier Worker Support provisions was to maintain air carriers’ payroll through September 30, 2020, and to prevent layoffs in the airline industry,” wrote the Senators. “We believe air carriers’ unilateral reduction of workers’ hours is inconsistent with that objective, and we urge you to issue guidance that makes that clear and to require carriers to comply.”
“It is reprehensible during these trying times that certain carriers would misappropriate funds meant for their employees and try to line their pockets,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “I want to thank and commend Senators Brown, Schumer and Cantwell for stepping up immediately to protect all workers.”
“The IAM will use any and all means necessary to defend our membership from companies that try to skirt their obligations during this crisis,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I am grateful for Sens. Brown, Schumer and Cantwell, and every elected official advocating for our membership. Every level of our union will continue to be engaged in this fight for our members.”