Middle class jobs in the U.S. airline industry are in jeopardy, IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja told Machinists Union members and hundreds of other airline workers at a rally outside the White House Thursday.
A Norwegian flag ironically flies in front of the White House during a rally protesting NAI’s scheme to undercut U.S. aviation jobs. Nordic leaders are in Washington, DC for a state dinner.
Norwegian Air International (NAI), a low-cost subsidiary of Norwegian Air that operates out of Ireland in order to skirt Norwegian labor law, wants to use Bangkok-based flight crews employed through a Singaporean hiring agency to fly to and from the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering NAI’s “flags of convenience” application, even though it would unleash downward pressure on U.S. airline workers’ wages, benefits and working conditions and eventually cause airline workers to lose their jobs.
“These are our jobs!” Pantoja told the crowd, “But these are not regular jobs. These are the best paying jobs in aviation. The best skilled workers in aviation. The best safety professionals.”
The IAM and other AFL-CIO-affiliated unions contend a potential DOT decision granting NAI a permit to operate transatlantic flights would violate the 2010 U.S.-European Union Open Skies Agreement, which specifically forbids airlines from undermining labor standards in a member country. Stephen Cotton, head of the 4.5 million-member International Transport Worker Federation (ITF), commended the IAM for fighting to “stop this race to the bottom in the civil aviation industry.”
“When representatives of the Democrat or Republican Party put our jobs in jeopardy, we should put their jobs in jeopardy in November,” continued Pantoja.
Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind called NAI’s scheme “The biggest fairy tale I’ve heard in my life.”
“They want to create a subsidiary that’s going to hire short-term employees in Asia and cover them under individual employment contracts,” said Wytkind. “Never mind the fact that they are trampling on the rights of their own employees in Norway.”
The IAM supports a bipartisan bill in Congress that would prevent NAI from gaining an unfair competitive advantage by beating down U.S. workers’ rights, wages and benefits. U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) have sponsored H.R. 5090, which will reverse the DOT’ s ill-conceived decision to potentially grant NAI access to U.S. skies.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to deny NAI entry into the U.S. aviation market by demanding that your U.S. Representative support H.R. 5090
“It’s about our values. It’s about fairness. It’s about safety. It’s about security,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “And for the labor movement, it’s about solidarity. We are all here together.”
As IAM Flight Attendants and hundreds of others chanted “Deny NAI,” a Norwegian flag flew on the White House fence. Nordic leaders are in Washington, DC for a state dinner with President Obama Friday night.
“If this is about flags of convenience, the only flag we’re going to need is the flag of the United States,” said Pantoja. “We don’t need any other flags.”
Thirty-one CRJ and ERJ grievances were heard at grievance mediation May 9-11. One of the reasons so many grievances were heard was due to the last CRJ mediation session being canceled by the mediator due to government budget cut backs. While it took a lot of hard work to hold hearings on so many cases, we were able to resolve the vast majority of the pending grievances with settlements. We will be meeting again for not CRJ and ERJ grievances August 2-4, 2016.
IAM Legislative Conference
submitted by Cori Horowitz, Local Lodge 2339O President
This past week the IAMAW Legislative Conference took place, with several IAM Flight Attendants in attendance. Throughout the conference we had the opportunity to hear from congressional leaders who stand by labor and are fighting for our rights on Capitol Hill.
One of the main topics discussed at the conference will directly affect us; the FAA Reauthorization and Flight Attendant fatigue protections are top priority for the IAM and these leaders are at the forefront doing their best to help us. Senator Blumenthal explained how important it is Flight Attendants get adequate rest, just like the pilots. He went to extensive detail on our current rest rules and demanded we all stand up to our Congressmen and Senators to let them know anything less than 10 hours is not safe and is not fair.
Although Flight Attendants represent a small portion of membership in the IAMAW, our voices are still 400,000 members strong. Every member who attended the conference was instructed to discuss our issues with their Senators and Congressmen. The FAA Reauthorization is currently in the Senate waiting for a vote. It’s not too late to reach out to your Senator and let them know that Flight Attendants deserve 10 hours of adequate rest and demand to be treated equally and fairly!
AIDS Walk New York 2016
submitted by Manny Rivero, Local Lodge 2339N Human Rights Chairperson
Flight Attendants from Newark and Chicago came together this past Sunday May 15, 2016 and joined over 30,000 walkers at this years annual AIDS Walk New York. AIDS Walk New York is the largest single day AIDS fundraising event in the world. AIDS WALK NY is a 10K walk through Central Park and Manhattan that primarily benefits GMHC, however supports more than 40 tri-state area organizations. The funds raised this year will provide over 90,000 hot meals to HIV positive people, support with housing programs that will find safe, stable, and affordable housing for those homeless or living with HIV/AIDS and bring us one step closer in ending HIV/AIDS in NY.
This year our team goal was set at $3000.00 and we raised an amazing $5,345.00! Team Captain EWR Flight Attendant Manny Rivero organized the event and was awarded Star Walker status for raising and impressive $1280.00. As a whole the event raised over 4 million dollars this year. We would like to thank everyone who participated and donated this year and for making it a record breaking year for Team IAM Flight Attendants. We look forward to walking again next year and surpassing our funds raised this year.
For more information visit GMHC.org to learn more about its programs and services.
submitted by Marche’ Johnson-Cooper Special Representative
No grievances were submitted to Grievance Mediation this week.
submitted by Sara Gonzales, General Chairperson
Step 2 Grievances
One grievance was received for appeal to Step 2 in the grievance process this week. The current pending Step 2 grievance base breakdown is as follows:
Upcoming Local Lodge Meetings
EWR Embassy Suites
95 Glimcher Realty Way, Elizabeth, NJ 07201
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3pm
transportation provided from EWR P-4
2339O (CLE & ORD)
ORD Best Western
10300 W Higgins Rd, Rosemont, Illinois, 60018
Wednesday, June 8, 2016 1pm
transportation provided from ORD bus/shuttle center
2339H (ERJ-DFW & IAH)
Ramada Houston Intercontinental East
6115 Will Clayton Pkwy, Humble, TX 77338
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 1pm
transportation available from IAH
2339A (CRJ-DFW, DTW & ATL)
Location TBD due to hotel construction
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 2pm