Washington, DC – Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement in support of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018:
“Transportation labor applauds leaders in the House and Senate for crafting bipartisan legislation that provides needed stability for our nation’s aviation system, strengthens safety, and supports investments that will create and sustain good jobs in this industry.
“We are especially pleased this bill includes a number of priorities for which TTD and our affiliates have long fought. By increasing minimum rest for America’s flight attendants from eight to ten hours, mitigating the scourge of assaults against customer service agents, and rejecting attempts to weaken vital qualification and training requirements for pilots, this legislation protects frontline workers and helps ensure the U.S. aviation industry remains the safest in the world.
“This legislation further prioritizes safety by rejecting efforts to promote single-pilot cargo operations, banning in-flight voice calls, ensuring the safe transport of lithium batteries, and securing secondary cockpit barriers. Finally, this bill establishes a task force to combat sexual assault and harassment in the aviation industry, and requires the Department of Justice to streamline and strengthen the reporting process for instances of sexual assault.
“We are also pleased lawmakers dropped a provision that would have exempted truck drivers from state and local labor protections, including meal and rest break and wage laws.
“While this package includes a number of provisions that enhance safety and promote workers’ rights, we are extremely disappointed the bill does not expunge dangerous flag-of-convenience business models from the U.S. aviation industry. We have long argued airline carriers should not have the ability to undermine our trade agreements, fair competition, or good jobs by shopping the globe for cheap labor and lax regulations. We remain committed to fighting for an aviation industry that upholds the law, values fair competition, and honors hard work.
“Additionally, we are pleased that the bill requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to convene a working group with union representatives and management to improve personnel management systems and working conditions for Transportation Security Officers (TSOs). We are disappointed, however, that the bill contains reforms to the Screening Partnership Program that would weaken the standards for airports to move to private security screening operations. TSOs play a vital role in keeping our country safe and secure, and encouraging security privatization undermines a strong federal role in security screening and only serves to benefit for-profit interests over public safety.
“Many Congressional leaders deserve credit for pushing this bill forward and for ensuring it meets the needs of frontline workers and promotes safety in this industry. Naming them all here would be impossible but we do want to salute Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), and Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Thune (R-SD), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for leading this bipartisan compromise.”