On behalf of the undersigned labor organizations representing aviation employees, we urge you to include a clean extension of the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) in the next phase of COVID-19 relief legislation.
The PSP is the principal component of the airline worker relief provisions in the CARES Act. This extremely successful program, which provides aid exclusively for employee payroll, has ensured that nearly one million airline employees remain employed with their health insurance during this crisis while also preserving collective bargaining rights and prohibiting furloughs.
Unfortunately, demand for air travel remains at a fraction of last year’s levels and will remain depressed well into next year. The current resurgence of COVID-19 nationwide is occurring just as the PSP program is winding down. Without Congressional intervention, hundreds of thousands of airline workers will lose their jobs on October 1, 2020. Major airlines—including American, Delta, and United—have already announced planned reductions in their workforce totaling at least 60,000 jobs and this is only the beginning. Additionally, the jobs lost require advanced training, background checks, and recurrent certifications that, once lost, will not be immediately recoverable. Losing so many of these jobs from a sector that accounts for five percent of our GDP will have massive, lasting, irrevocable spillover effects on our nation’s economic recovery.
We respectfully ask Congress to pass a clean extension of the PSP through March 31, 2021, including an additional $32 billion in aid, allowing the program to continue as intended under the current statute without requiring additional applications or agreements between Treasury and the recipients. This is the simplest and fastest way to maintain Congress’ historic commitment to keep aviation workers on payroll—many of whom are on the front lines of this deadly virus. Waiting is not an option. Absent immediate Congressional action mass layoffs will begin on October 1, 2020.
Only through an extension of PSP grants can Congress ensure that airline workers will be ready to lift our economy up once the threat of this virus has passed. We urge you stand up for airline and airline contractor workers by passing a clean extension of the PSP in the pending COVID-19 relief legislation.
David Bourne, Director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Airline Division
Joe DePete, President, Air Line Pilots Association
Eric Ferguson, President, Allied Pilots Association
Julie Hedrick, National President, Association of Professional Flight Attendants
Pedro Leroux, President, NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots
Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
Sito Pantoja, General Vice President for Transportation, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Mike Perrone, National President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association
John Samuelsen, International President, Transport Workers Union
Christopher M. Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America
Richard Trumka, President, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
Jonathan L. Weaks, President, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association
Larry I. Willis, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO