On September 16, 2020 TWU International Executive Vice President Alex Garcia sent the following letter to Secretary Mnuchin, Chief of Staff Meadows, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer.
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We wrote to you earlier this year, at an early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, urging you to invest in our team members, our airline and our industry so we could ultimately help lead our nation’s recovery from the devastating impact of the coronavirus. We remain deeply grateful for the assistance you provided.
We expected and hoped that the virus would have abated, and demand for air travel would have rebounded, by the time the assistance afforded to us through the CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) expired. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, and demand is still historically low. Despite the aggressive self-help measures the company has taken to bolster its financial position, and even with several thousand of our colleagues opting for voluntary leave and early retirement, nearly 20,000 American Airlines team members are facing furloughs in just two short weeks, and several markets in our domestic network are at risk of significant reductions in air service.
Accordingly, with the same urgency as earlier this year, we implore you to find a way to work together to reach agreement on a COVID-19 relief bill that includes a clean extension of the PSP.
The CARES Act passed both houses of Congress in March with resounding bipartisan support. And over the past five and a half months, the federal government’s investment in airline workers has more than paid off. The funds that we and other airlines received through the PSP have gone directly toward our team members’ salaries and benefits, keeping our pilots, flight attendants, and thousands of other hard-working aviation professionals on the job and off the unemployment rolls, and ensuring air service continues to small communities across the country.
The dire circumstances we face now — massive furloughs and reductions in air service — are exactly the circumstances the PSP was designed to guard against, which explains why a six-month extension of the program enjoys overwhelming support from a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers.
We are acutely aware that the airline industry isn’t alone in its suffering from the extended impact of this pandemic, and that is exactly why we’re writing to you today. It’s not just our team members who are counting on our nation’s leaders to lead, but tens of thousands of workers, families and businesses across the country. Our conversations with each of you suggest a deal is within reach, and there is no time to waste.
We are grateful for your willing and constructive engagement with us, we stand ready to do what it takes to see this through, and we remain hopeful for an outcome that spares thousands of our colleagues and their families from what we regard as an avoidable fate.
Doug Parker, Chairman & CEO, American Airlines
Capt. Eric Ferguson, President, Allied Pilots Association
Julie Hedrick, National President, Association of Professional Flight Attendants
Capt. David Bourne, Director, Airline Division — International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Christopher M. Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America
Sito Pantoja, General Vice President, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
Alex Garcia, International Executive Vice President, Transport Workers Union
Damon Wood, President, Professional Airline Flight Control Association — AAL