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Transportation Labor Leaders: Lawmakers Must Ensure One Level of Safety, Security in Aircraft Maintenance Industry

Washington, D.C. – John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Sito Pantoja, general vice president of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), Mike Perrone, president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), and Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issue this joint statement on the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act (H.R. 5119):

“We applaud the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for overwhelmingly passing the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act, which would end the dangerous double standard in the aircraft maintenance industry once and for all.

“For too long, foreign repair stations and their mechanics working on U.S. aircraft have not been held to the same safety, security, and oversight rules as U.S. repair stations and mechanics. This hypocrisy has incentivized airlines to outsource good, U.S. maintenance jobs to foreign facilities, and has led to alarming instances of safety lapses and shoddy foreign repair work. Upon inspecting foreign-repaired aircraft, U.S. aviation mechanics, inspectors, and pilots have found the improper installation of cabin doors, missing equipment, damage to aircraft that has simply been painted over, and even illegal drugs smuggled in the nose of aircraft.

“Sadly, repeated attempts by Congress to remedy this situation have only been met with missed deadlines, poor oversight, and watered down regulations. If passed into law, this bill would require security background checks for foreign maintenance workers; impose risk-based safety and security inspections for foreign stations; require drug and alcohol testing for mechanics performing safety sensitive work; require unannounced inspections by FAA aviation safety inspectors; and ensure foreign mechanics and supervisors meet FAA certification standards.

“Lawmakers owe it to aircraft workers and the flying public to ensure the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry.

“We thank Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) and John Katko (R-NY) for their leadership on this important issue.”

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