Friday, March 27, 2020
Congress Passes Historic $2T Pandemic Relief Bill – Aviation Jobs Protected
Both chambers of Congress have now passed the stimulus bill which includes federal aid for the airline industry. It will be signed into law by the President shortly.
“No doubt this bill is a win for labor and aviation workers. While all Unions worked together to get this done, challenges still remain in the implementation. Congress and the President were both clear—aviation jobs were to be saved. The air carriers have 50 billion dollars in loans and grants and we will work with American Airlines to implement this bill to keep our members paid and working,” said APFA President Lori Bassani.
Organized labor played a monumental role in securing protections for aviation workers. For Flight Attendants, this means that:
- Passenger airlines get access to $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans
- Grants are earmarked specifically for employee payrolls
- Airlines accepting funds cannot furlough employees through September 30
- Airlines accepting funds cannot change collective bargaining agreements through September 30
- Pay rates and benefits cannot be reduced
- Restrictions are placed on funding stock buybacks, dividends, and executive compensation
The bill also dictates that:
- Depending on income level, most working and middle-class families will receive a check for $1,200 per adult and $500 per child
- Federal funding boosts weekly unemployment benefits by $600 through July 31 (maximum state benefit ranges from $235 in Mississippi to $823 in Massachusetts, depending on income)
There is still much work to be done – implementation will be crucial. But the intent of Congress was clear: aviation jobs are to be saved. As you know, labor contracts are complex and our JCBA is no different. The bill could not be expected to address every aspect of every labor contract. However, the airlines came before Congress and pleaded for grants to survive this crisis. Unions were instrumental in supporting and ultimately securing these grants. We are expecting Doug Parker to honor the intent of the legislation and work with us in good faith as we navigate the details in the coming days. Make sure the company hears from you!
APFA National Government Affairs Representative