Airline employees, remember this close call just six years ago?
The date was May 18, 2006. The House of Representatives was having a debate about a bizarre Bush Administration proposal to let U.S. airlines be controlled by China and other foreign interests.
The Department of Transportation under Bush proposed a change in federal aviation policy to allow foreign interests to have control over U.S. airlines that they invest in. In other words, under the Bush-proposed rules politicians would knowingly let foreign interests control the world’s largest aviation industry and the millions of jobs it supports.
We condemned this idea as another sad case of elected officials embracing reckless policy that sends good jobs abroad.
The good news is that a majority in the House rejected the Bush proposal – with some notable exceptions. While 291 members voted against it, including 97 of his fellow Republicans, Rep. Paul Ryan voted in favor of permitting foreign takeover of our airlines. Yes, the same Paul Ryan selected to be Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate. The same Paul Ryan who travels through states such as Ohio – where trade policy really matters – and talks tough on China but votes with foreign lobbyists on the House floor.
Airline crews already face the threat of job losses from globalization run amok. Airline mechanics already see 71 percent of all aircraft heavy maintenance outsourced, 27 percent of that to foreign repair stations. Customer service agents also constantly face threats of outsourcing. And this is happening without adopting Paul Ryan’s view that we should give away control of U.S. airlines to foreign interests preying on our marketplace and our jobs.
This issue matters and airline workers should be wary of candidates for President and Vice President who talk tough on trade with China but have a demonstrated record of supporting offshoring of American jobs. These policy choices matter – aviation is a driver of our economy and of middle-class job creation. Why would we want to give it away to foreign bidders who will control our airlines and make sure their workers, not ours, crew the flights, repair the planes and serve the customers? Ask @MittRomney and @PaulRyanVP.
It also is a matter of national security; allowing foreign interests to control our airlines undercuts the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a program relied on by the military to transport troops and supplies on commercial aircraft in times of war and conflict.
Airline workers beware. The future of U.S. airline jobs is on the ballot this fall. Stay tuned – much more to come on MoveAmerica about the stakes in this election.