The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Reid:
We are writing today to urge the Senate to pass a strong FAA Reauthorization bill that supports our aviation system, its private and public sector workers, and the millions of Americans who rely on safe and efficient air travel.
As you know, the FAA has been operating on a series of short-term funding extensions for the last two years. This delay has led to the neglect of critical safety and modernization initiatives, infrastructure investments, and worker rights issues for too long. We are urging you to intervene and ensure this legislation is completed this year.
As a vital component of our national transportation network, the aviation system is critical to our economy. It generates nearly $900 billion in economic activity annually and represents 9 percent of our GDP. The FAA forecasts that by 2021 passenger traffic will increase 49 percent to 1.16 billion passengers annually. In addition, the aviation system directly and indirectly employs millions of workers at a time when the unemployment rate is still rising and job security across the country is perilous at best.
The FAA must be well-positioned to sustain this system and handle its anticipated growth. A strong FAA reauthorization bill brings the promise of major reforms: increased investment in our airports and infrastructure; modernization of the air traffic control system; implementation of vital safety reforms; a fairer system of collective bargaining at the FAA; protection of workers’ rights; and a reaffirmation of federal policy on the foreign control of U.S. air carriers.
As our nation struggles through one of the most severe recessions in history, we cannot afford additional delays in completing this legislation. Americans need jobs-creating initiatives like the investment provisions embodied in this bill. While the FAA bill will not solve all of the aviation industry’s problems, it will set the stage for this critical segment of our economy to grow and for our workers to thrive.
For these reasons, we join together to ask for your assistance in bringing an FAA bill to the floor so that a final bill can be reconciled and sent to the President’s desk this year.
Thank you for considering our views regarding this important transportation legislation.
Patricia Friend, International President
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
John Prater, President
Air Line Pilots Association
Greg Junemann, President
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
Terence O’Sullivan, President
Laborers’ International Union of North America
Michael Goodwin, President
Office and Professional Employees International Union
Gerald McEntee, President
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Robert Roach, General Vice President
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Vincent Giblin, General President
International Union of Operating Engineers
Paul Rinaldi, President
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Tom Brantley, President
Professional Aviation Safety Specialist
Edward Wytkind, President
Transportation Trades Dept., AFL-CIO
James Little, President
Transport Workers Union of America
cc: The Honorable John D. Rockefeller
The Honorable Max Baucus
The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan