On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to vote YES on H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. I want to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for crafting a bipartisan, comprehensive FAA reauthorization that promotes safety, rejects frivolous attacks on labor and worker rights, and provides long-term stability for the FAA. In addition to supporting the underlying bill, I ask that you reject several anti-labor amendments and support others that would further promote safety and security in our aviation system.
H.R. 4 provides much needed long term funding stability to the FAA with a 5-year authorization that includes increases to the operating and facilities and equipment accounts. The bill also contains important provisions designed to advance FAA modernization and NextGen, and strengthen our National Airspace System.
In addition to authorizing a vital federal agency, H.R. 4 is an important safety and worker protection bill. The bill includes several pro-worker provisions for which TTD and its affiliates have long fought:
- Mandates a 10-hour minimum rest period for flight attendants in between 14-hour duty periods and requires the FAA to conduct a fatigue risk management study.
- Combats the scourge of violent attacks on airline customer service agents by requiring airlines to develop an assault prevention and response plan and conduct appropriate training for employees and managers.
- Requires the Department of Transportation to enforce the terms of our aviation trade agreements by adhering to labor standards and preventing flag of convenience airlines from gaining a foothold in the U.S. marketplace.
- Requires secondary barriers to be installed on all newly constructed aircraft.
- Bans in-flight voice cell phone calls.
- Promotes security by identifying the cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities on aircraft.
- Ensures the safe transport of lithium batteries.
While we support the underlying bill, there are several anti-worker amendments that we urge you to oppose. Specifically:
- #79, Denham (CA) – This amendment would needlessly deny coverage of state and local wage and hour protections for commercial truck drivers. This version of the amendment goes beyond what has been considered and rejected by Congress in the past and would exempt drivers from local wage laws, meal and rest break laws, paid sick and family leave, and minimum wage, to name just a few. There is no reason for Congress to interfere in state and local laws needed to protect truck drivers and this sweeping preemption provision has no place in an FAA Reauthorization bill. Vote NO on Denham #79.
- #112, McClintock (CA) – This amendment would cut off access to air service for hundreds of small communities across the country by eliminating the Essential Air Service Program (EAS). EAS is a vital lifeline for many rural communities that lack a mature transportation system. Eliminating EAS will further economically isolate these communities and cost aviation jobs. Vote NO on McClintock #112.
- #63, King (IA) – This amendment would repeal Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements for construction projects covered under this bill. Davis-Bacon has been a critical component of federally funded transportation projects for decades, and promotes a fair labor market by upholding local wage standards. Vote NO on King #63.
- #60, Rohrabacher (CA) – This amendment could have negative effects on safety and efficiency standards by arbitrarily setting altitude standards for aircraft transitioning from Oceanic to domestic airspace. The safe and efficient flow of air traffic should be the only factors determining altitude. Vote NO on Rohrabacher #60.
- #72, Fleischmann (TN) – This amendment would greatly reduce runway construction standards at many general aviation airports, and reduce the number of available options in the event of an emergency. Vote NO on Fleischmann #72.
- #46, Cohen (TN) – This amendment would allow third-party contractors to access private pilot information at any time without an individual’s consent, and with no limits on how this information can be used. This is an irresponsible breach of pilot privacy. Vote NO on Cohen #36.
We also urge to you support the following amendments:
- #58, Esty (CT) – This amendment will create the Women in Aviation Advisory Board to promote organizations that provide training, outreach, mentorship, and recruitment of women in the aviation industry. Vote YES on Esty #58.
- #26, DeFazio (OR) – This amendment clarifies the requirements for the safe operation of small unmanned aircraft for hobbyist or recreational use. Vote YES on DeFazio #26.
- #42, DeFazio (OR) – This amendment ensures that the U.S. can enact common sense regulations on the transportation of flammable lithium batteries in the absence of an accident. Vote YES on DeFazio #26.
In addition to these amendments, we support two provisions in the manager’s amendment. One that requires training to address sexual assault and harassment in the aviation industry and another to harmonize the standards for service animals on aircraft. However, we are opposed to language in the manager’s that would promote privatization of airports by expanding the airport privatization program. Additionally, we remain opposed to Section 744, which is designed to promote single-pilot commercial cargo aircraft and are disappointed that an amendment to remove the section was not made in order.
Once again, I thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for their leadership on this important bill, and urge Members to support its passage.
Larry I. Willis