FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2022
Contact: Denise Romano, firstname.lastname@example.org
The TWU Endorses the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act
Ensures the Safety of Aviation Workers and the Flying Public, Prevents Offshoring
Washington, DC – Today, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) strongly endorsed new legislation to that establishes a new level of safety and security for aircraft maintenance. Led by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Representative John Katko (R-NY), the bipartisan Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act raises safety standards for U.S.-flagged aircraft maintained abroad to bring them in line with domestically maintained aircraft. This will not only better ensure the safety and security of frontline aviation workers and the flying public, but also deter offshoring of aircraft maintenance.
“The TWU is proud to support the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act. Chairman DeFazio, Rep. Katko and Rep. Larsen have steadfastly supported TWU efforts to expose and roll back the offshoring of aircraft maintenance. It’s the airline industry’s dirty little secret, putting profits before passengers by having maintenance work performed on potentially dangerous foreign soil,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “The legislation will protect American workers and American air travelers from a race to bottom on safety and labor standards in the airline industry.”
Today there are more than 950 aircraft maintenance and repair stations that have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outside of the United States. The number of these facilities has grown by nearly 40 percent in the past six years. These foreign repair stations are located all around the globe including China and Russia, as well as several countries that the FAA has classified as not complying with international aviation standards.
The legislation would address five regulatory gaps that allow a lower safety standard for aircraft maintenance and incentivize airlines to offshore this work:
- Drug and alcohol testing for safety sensitive personnel
- Background checks for workers at maintenance facilities
- Security threat assessments for these facilities
- Unannounced inspections for maintenance operations
- Minimum qualifications for aircraft mechanics
While Congress has directed the FAA twice before to address several of these gaps, the Administration has failed to take even cursory action on these mandates.
This un-level playing field for safety regulations is also costing American jobs. More than 8,200 aircraft maintenance jobs left the country in recent years.
“The job loss is caused by regulatory loopholes that let airlines cut costs by diminishing safety. We often hear that airlines ‘do not compete on safety.’ Congress and the Administration have to live up to this ideal by immediately closing all the loopholes that encourage moving maintenance work outside of the country,” Samuelsen said.
“By allowing these safety gaps to persist, the FAA is incentivizing offshoring U.S. jobs onto safety standards well-below the minimum at home. This practice should be unacceptable of any safety regulatory agency. We hope Congress will pass this legislation immediately to make it clear to the FAA that the American people expect them to maintain the safety of our airspace regardless of where aircraft are repaired,” Samuelsen concluded.
The Transport Workers Union of America Represents more than 155,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transportation, utilities, universities and services sectors