August 5, 2019
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I write on behalf of the 151,000 members of the Transport Workers Union of America, AFLCIO – including 60,000 aviation workers – to follow up on two previous letters about offshoring U.S. aviation jobs and airline safety.
Recently, you hosted a meeting in which the CEOs of the biggest U.S. airlines begged for your help in their competition with the state-sponsored Middle East carriers. At the very moment these airlines are asking for you to shield them from foreign competition they are actively working to offshore as many U.S.-based jobs as they possibly can, exposing American workers to unfair competition, and possibly harming American air travelers. It’s laughable that these job-exporting CEOs would cite a risk to U.S. jobs to support their position. This anti-worker business scheme is un-American and totally hypocritical.
Foreign carriers should not be allowed to grow into our markets using government subsidies – essentially forcing American workers to compete against foreign governments. Likewise, the tens of thousands of solid, blue-collar American workers at USA flagged airlines should not be forced to compete against unqualified, less safe foreign workers. The very same CEOs who are worried about losing routes to foreign competition have no qualms about putting their workers on the street as they move aircraft maintenance overseas. In the past 15 years, these airlines have more than tripled the percentage of maintenance work performed outside of the U.S. and cost our economy more than 8,200 good-paying, middle class jobs in the process.
Not only does offshoring cost jobs, it raises tangible safety and security issues. American Airlines and others are potentially endangering the lives of the travelling public in the pursuit of profit. Foreign mechanics are not subject to any security background checks, drug and alcohol testing, or unannounced safety inspections, nor do they have FAA certification, that is required to work for air carriers in the USA. Furthermore, the largest number of these foreign repair stations are in China – a country that has demonstrated a willingness to undermine our national interests. Airline CEOs should not be permitted to nickel and dime American workers and air travelers, especially when doing so may introduce unnecessary and serious risks into our aviation system.
As President, you have immense power to hold these double-talking CEOs accountable. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have existing congressional directives to address the safety and security gaps regarding foreign repair facilities. I urge you to order them to do so immediately to keep our skies safe and to help make America great again.
President Trump, as a fellow New Yorker and longtime Labor leader, I have seen many attempts to game the system to get an advantage over workers. But I have never seen CEOs so willing to endanger their customers, destroy American jobs, and then have the gall to beg the government for a handout. Although I represent tens of thousands of aviation workers, I began my career as a trackworker in the New York City subway. I look at the issue of foreign maintenance of aircraft from the perspective of somebody from outside the airline industry. It is an outrageous affront to the American people that these highly profitable corporations are willing to kill American jobs and the exceptional safety outcomes that USA based mechanics provide to air travelers, just to earn a few more bucks. You can intervene and protect tens of thousands of blue-collar aircraft mechanic jobs and possibly save American lives as well. Aviation workers and airline passengers need your leadership to hold these job-killing CEOs accountable and protect the American people. You can end this race to the bottom in America’s airline industry. Thank you.
Transport Workers Union of America
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