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2.10.17 – (LAA/LUS) – Cell Phones on Planes/Open Skies Agreement/H.R. 785

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Friday, February 10, 2017

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Here are 3 important issues for your attention and action.

1. Voice Calls on Planes

APFA strongly opposes voice calls on planes for several reasons including inflight customer experience, passenger comfort, and most importantly, concerns for safety and security. Recently, APFA President Bob Ross submitted official comments on the issue to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and we encourage you to share your personal perspective with the DOT as well.

Below is an example of a comment you might submit. Feel free to use it as a guideline but as always, your own words and experiences are most effective:

As a flight attendant of a major airline for ___ years, I am strongly opposed to allowing voice calls on airplanes. Our flights are full, seats are smaller and incidents of air rage are on the rise.  Flight attendants are the last line of defense on the aircraft and our passengers are overwhelmingly in opposition to voice calls during flight. Personal space is a major component in sparking confrontations between passengers. The policy should be consistent and the DOT should not allow individual airlines to choose. Please continue to prohibit voice calls on airplanes.”
When filing your comments, select “Public Comments” from the dropdown menu. The deadline to file to the DOT is Monday, February 13th. (Note: the website will undergo scheduled maintenance and will be unavailable Saturday, February 11, from 6:00 am through 4:00 pm ET.)

2. Enforcing the Open Skies Agreement

Watch 30 second video

As you may know, massive Gulf carrier subsidies are harming the U.S. aviation industry. With the new Administration, we are optimistic that we will finally see the U.S. government step in to enforce our Open Skies agreements. President Trump has said that he will enforce our international agreements and we hope and expect that he will stand up to the Gulf carriers and defend the rights of hard-working Americans.

The CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines sent a letter this week to incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week, elevating our concerns about the Gulf carriers’ massive subsidies and requesting a meeting with the secretary. In the letter, the CEOs wrote:

we are confident that the Trump Administration shares our view on the importance of enforcing our Open Skies agreements, ensuring that U.S. airlines have a fair and equal opportunity to compete in the international market, and protecting American jobs.”  

While we await action by the U.S. government, the Gulf carriers continue to run rampant with their subsidy-fueled expansion into the U.S. market. Last week, Emirates announced a new route between Athens and Newark. This kind of provocation cannot be tolerated by the United States.

We need your help making the case to the new Administration that the future of our aviation industry and hundreds of thousands of American jobs are at stake. Please join us in asking President Trump to take swift action to enforce our agreements and stop the Gulf carriers and their government sponsors from getting away with breaking the rules.

Here are two ways you can help:

ISend an email to the White House

II. Tweet at the White House:

  • Competition must be fair. Time for @POTUS to protect American jobs and enforce #OpenSkies agreements with UAE, Qatar.  Click to Tweet
  • Rule breaking Gulf carriers put thousands of U.S. jobs at risk. @POTUS, enforce #OpenSkies now.  Click to Tweet
  • Gulf carriers are racing against the clock to flood the U.S. market, costing American jobs. @POTUS, I urge you enforce #OpenSkies.  Click to Tweet


3.  H. R. 785 – National Right to Work

A piece of legislation has recently been reintroduced by Congressman King. H.R. 785 is essentially a national right-to-work law.

Thus far, right-to-work laws have only been passed at the state levels. Right-to-work laws mandate that members of a work group cannot be compelled to join or pay dues to a union. In addition to undermining the labor movement, right-to-work laws create a “free rider” problem where some workers get to benefit from union gains without contributing to a union.

H.R. 785 was first introduced by Congressman King two years ago. Last time around it garnered the co-sponsorship of 128 Republicans, largely from the Freedom Caucus and Tea Party. The bill got no traction last session, not even a hearing. But having said that, it is a new day in Washington and the bill could potentially pick up greater support this session.

Trump has indicated his support for right-to-work laws but at the same time has been reaching out to unions with his anti-NAFTA message. APFA opposes right-to-work legislation. We will continue to emphasize the harm of bills like H.R. 785 and any legislation that aims to weaken the labor movement to our members and friends in Congress.

Thank you for taking action!

In Unity,

Allie Malis
APFA Government Affairs Representative


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