WASHINGTON, DC – Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), offered the following statement regarding the urgency of passing a funding extension for the Federal Aviation Administration:
“At this moment, 4,000 aviation workers are not collecting a paycheck and more than 70,000 construction workers’ jobs are at risk because Congress is playing ideological games. If Congress packs up and goes home for the summer without passing a clean extension of the FAA bill, these workers won’t be able to provide for their families, and the aviation system will lose $1.5 billion in revenues that it will never recoup.
“In the absence of a long-term FAA bill, Congress has extended the FAA’s existing funding levels 20 separate times without controversy. But this time, the House Republican leadership has held hostage the negotiations over this vital air safety, infrastructure and technology funding bill to get their way. The House’s FAA funding extension included controversial language that would cut air services in rural America as a way to put pressure on the Senate to get what they want: to make it harder to join and form unions.
“Fortunately, the President and Democratic Senators are standing with airline travelers and workers, pushing for a clean extension of the FAA bill.
“The American people may not realize the impact of the FAA shut down right now. But they know they already sit for too long on the tarmac. They know they depart and arrive late on too many flights. They know they are saddled with a 1950s-era radar navigation system that should be upgraded to a GPS-based ‘NextGen’ system.
“This is a serious situation that threatens progress and the efficiency of our aviation system, not to mention thousands of jobs. We call on Congress to address the needs of the American people by passing a clean extension of the FAA bill now.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.