The Transportation Department last week tentatively approved a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian Air International's (NAI) Irish-flag subsidiary. AFA-CWA strongly opposes this application, as it sets a dangerous precedent for transatlantic aviation and risks thousands of U.S. aviation jobs. AFA-CWA will vigorously oppose this move.
"The Obama Administration is on the brink of awarding a 'flag of convenience model' in aviation, designed specifically to avoid labor laws," said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. "With this decision, the administration has chosen foreign corporations over workers' rights and good American jobs. The failure of the administration to enforce the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement calls into question enforcement of all trade agreements. If the administration will not enforce basic labor protections under current trade agreements, we cannot and will not support future trade agreements that promise 'labor protections.'"
This "flags of convenience" model clearly violates the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement. NAI is a Norwegian-owned company that holds an air carrier certification from Ireland, but does not fly to or from Ireland. NAI proposes using flight crew from Asia working on individual employment contracts.
"We will keep up our fight to stop the NAI foreign air carrier permit and work to ensure that our jobs and the Flight Attendant profession are not further undercut," Nelson said.