IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja today issued the following statement to mark the somber anniversary of 9/11:
Thirteen years ago today, the United States suffered mind-numbing acts of barbarism. Cowardly terrorist murderers hijacked United and American Airlines jetliners and killed thousands of innocent people. United Airlines Customer Service employees and IAM members Marianne McFarland and Jesus Sanchez were onboard United 175. IAM Organizer and New York City Firefighter Keith Maynard was lost in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The heroic pilots and flight attendants that reported to work that day, the workers in and around the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the hundreds of New York City and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey first responders, and the courageous passengers on those doomed flights – today and everyday we remember them all and the senseless acts that took them from us.
The horrific acts of 9/11 stunned the world. These unspeakable acts of terrorism threw the airline industry into free-fall and contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, airline bankruptcies and ongoing industry consolidation.
Unfortunately, we still face real threats and IAM members are on the frontlines. Whether it be in the cabin or the ground, at an airport or on our nation’s rail system, IAM members are responsible for the traveling public’s safety and security.
That’s why the IAM has fought senseless efforts to permit knives and other weapons back on board aircraft and to regulate and restrict the use of foreign aircraft repair facilities where personnel are not subject to criminal background checks yet have unfettered access to aircraft. We are fighting to stop dangerous “flags of convenience” schemes that undermine the safety and security of air travel and the misguided efforts to allow mobile voice calls onboard commercial aircraft, which would allow terrorists to better coordinate another attack.
Today is a day to remember our fallen heroes and reflect. It is also a day to recognize the resilience of the hundreds of thousands of Fighting Machinists who answer the call every single day to make our nation better, safer and stronger.