WASHINGTON – The Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO today called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to seek consultations with European aviation authorities regarding Wizz Air Hungary Ltd.’s application for a foreign air carrier permit and exemption pursuant to the US-EU Open Skies Agreement. TTD also urged DOT to defer further action until such consultation.
TTD’s request for consultation between American and European aviation counterparts is in line with requests from six U.S. and E.U. pilot unions and associations, including the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA); Association of Flight Attendants, CWA (AFA); Allied Pilots Association (APA); Independent Pilots Association (IPA); Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) and European Cockpit Association (ECA). Further, the AFL-CIO, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) also joined TTD’s request to the DOT today.
“The gravity of the task before the DOT presented by Wizz Air’s application includes whether it is consistent with the Open Skies Agreement and is fit under normally applied U.S. laws and regulations,” said TTD President Greg Regan. “Specifically, Wizz Air’s toxic workplace safety culture, anti-employee labor model, and disregard for judicial compliance beg for strict scrutiny.”
“Wizz Air’s culture is foundationally built on terminating pilots and flight attendants who will not fly when sick, pilots who are unwilling to fly beyond their maximum duty day limit, and pilots and flight attendants who will not fly when fatigued. These problems must not be dismissed out of hand,” continue President Regan.
“Further, Wizz Air’s labor model pits direct employees against ‘leased’ crew, who are paid substantially less in order to preclude them from unionizing. Hostility to the rights of workers to organize and join unions is rampant through all elements of the company. Wizz Air uniformly refuses to comply with judicial decisions ordering employee reinstatement after wrongful termination,” stated President Regan.
“Finally, when examining these red flags, the DOT must also consider Wizz Air’s potential designs for passenger operations. Once the carrier has economic authority for charter cargo operations, it will take a minimal additional showing to receive scheduled passenger authority. Thus, DOT strict scrutiny is not only appropriate but necessary,” concluded President Regan.
Read the filing here.