WASHINGTON, March 23, 2020 — Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), released the following statement urging support for hundreds of thousands of aerospace workers affected by the coronavirus crisis. The aerospace industry is currently left out of the House version of relief legislation being drafted in Congress.
The IAM sent a letter to members of Congress strongly urging them to support necessary financial assistance to support the U.S. aerospace manufacturing industry and the millions of jobs it supports as part of the urgent relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the largest aerospace manufacturing union in North America, the IAM and its members know well the importance of this vital industry. The industry provides for nearly 900,000 direct jobs and accounts for more than 2.5 million direct, indirect and induced jobs. Many of these jobs are high-skilled, union jobs and are proven gateways to the middle class.
“While putting together a COVID-19 relief package for this and any other industry, we must remember to put hardworking Americans and their families first. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, IAM members in the aerospace industry have already received more than 13,000 layoff notices from companies as large as General Electric and Spirit AeroSystems. This unprecedented number of layoffs continues to grow every day as companies shut down due to government restrictions and an inability for companies to ensure a safe work environment.
“The IAM believes that over 500,000 aerospace production jobs could be in jeopardy. The loss of these jobs will impact every state in the country, through lost tax revenue and increased demand on social safety nets. This strategic industry cannot be saved without first ensuring the economic security of the workers who make it thrive. Any relief package to the aerospace industry should include provisions to prevent layoffs and protect workers’ salaries, healthcare insurance, fringe benefits, and all provisions in the applicable collective bargaining agreements (CBA). Provisions must be included to prohibit relief recipients from outsourcing and offshoring of work covered under a CBA, and recipients must be prohibited from using the funds for executive pay increases, stock buybacks, or payment of dividends.
“The aerospace manufacturing industry is without question indispensable to our domestic economic health and national security.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in manufacturing, aerospace, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care and other industries. For more information, visit goIAM.org.