More than half of my life has been working in the airlines for one company that completed merger after merger into what is now Delta. Having seen many things in my lifetime take place in the airline industry, this is something new. I am sharing this because I am a proud Delta employee and I want others to know I thank them for looking out for my “Family” making sure we are represented in the stimulus bill.
IAM Fights and Senate Passes Bill to Steady Air and Rail Industries
The Senate late last night passed a bi-partisan stimulus Bill that will help stabilize the air and rail industries, protect all airline workers and provide the entire country with much-needed financial relief. The House of Representatives is expected to easily pass the Bill on Friday.
“This critical legislation was almost derailed by opportunists, including some in the labor movement, trying to add self-serving conditions to the aid our members and our industry so desperately need,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The IAM’s legislative team has been working around the clock, seven days a week since this crisis began with specific instructions that their priority was to advocate for our members jobs, not anyone’s unrelated wish list. Thankfully, with the help of tens of thousands of IAM members who contacted their Senators and Representatives, we succeeded and unnecessary conditions were eliminated.”
It is important to emphasize that the IAM fought for airline workers who are not yet in unions just as they will be treated the same under this legislation as unionized airline workers are.
Highlights of the federal stimulus for airlines:
- $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans or loan guarantees to the airline industry
– Before labor’s input it was only a loan program
- The grant funds are EXCLUSIVELY for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries and benefits
– Before labor’s input, this provision did not exist
- No condition to open CBAs and enter concessionary negotiations to receive grant funds, loans or loan guarantees
– Before labor’s input, the Treasury Secretary had the power to demand unlimited conditions on receiving federal funds
- As a condition to receive federal grant funds the carrier must refrain from conducting involuntary furloughs until September 30, 2020
– Before labor’s input, this important provision did not exist
- Prohibition on stock buybacks until September 30, 2021
- Prohibition of dividend payments until September 30, 2021
- Limits on executive compensation
- Limits on “golden parachutes”
– Before labor’s input, these provisions did not exist
“If not for all of Labor, this legislation would not be centered on workers as it is,” continued Pantoja. “It would have been a give-away to corporations and Wall Street. What we accomplished was substantial, but now is not the time to celebrate. Workers are unemployed, businesses are closed and people are dying every day in our communities from the COVID-19 pandemic. We still have an unprecedented crisis in front of us, so our work is far from being done.”