June 14, 2023
On behalf of the undersigned labor organizations representing tens of thousands of aviation employees, we write to urge you to vote in favor of the amendment Klobuchar 1 during the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Executive Committee mark up tomorrow.
Transportation workers know all too well the consequences of predatory business models that have undermined critical domestic industries, from freight rail and maritime to the aviation sector. Today, the U.S. airline industry faces an existential threat from foreign airlines that operate in the domestic market and seek to undermine key labor, tax, and safety laws.
Changes from Previous Legislation
The last iteration of the Fair and Open Skies Act included three other elements that have been removed. First, a requirement that European carriers seeking a foreign air carrier permit be in compliance with a labor clause in the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement – 17 bis. Second, a provision on preventing “flag of convenience” airlines as a public interest criterion has been removed. And lastly, the mandatory public interest test.
Klobuchar 1 differs from the original Fair and Open Skies Act provision that included a “mandatory” public interest requirement and is blessed by agencies that mange air services agreements, the Department of Transportation and the Department of State. As such claims of retaliation are moot. The revised Klobuchar amendment, removes the mandatory public interest finding and only requires that the existing permissive public interest finding, that is used at the Department of Transportation (DOT) discretion, consider if labor standards are being undermined. So IF the DOT decided to do public interest analysis on permits of foreign air carries, they are able to look at labor issues.
This amendment continues to be a longstanding labor priority critical to provide DOT with the authority to protect fair wages and working conditions for U.S. aviation workers. The inclusion of these standards helps provide long-term protection against current and future labor rights abuses in our international aviation system.
We strongly urge Committee members to support the domestic aviation workforce by voting YES on Klobuchar 1 in the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee mark up tomorrow.
Air Line Pilots Association
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Transport Workers Union of America