Aviation Labor Leaders: Without Extension of CARES Act Payroll Support Program, Mass Layoffs Inevitable

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Washington, DC — In a letter to Congressional leadership, the leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the Transport Workers Union (TWU), and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), are calling on lawmakers to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in the CARES Act through March 31, 2021.

The program, which allocated grants to commercial airlines and airline contractors for the exclusive purpose of keeping employees on payroll with wages and benefits, is set to expire September 30, 2020. To date, PSP funding has kept hundreds of thousands of airline workers employed and covered under their healthcare plans during the pandemic. Without a clean extension of PSP funding, labor leaders warn mass layoffs in the aviation industry are inevitable as airlines continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 crisis, and demand for air travel remains at or below 20 percent of last year’s levels.

“Not only will hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs and health insurance, but the industry would lose a large portion of the experienced and credentialed workforce that will be critical to bringing the sector and the broader economy back to prosperity once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Airline industry employment cannot simply be put back together overnight, and mass layoffs will do great damage to the sector, with potentially irrevocable consequences,” aviation labor leaders write. 

“Only through an extension of PSP grants can Congress ensure that airline workers will continue to stay on payroll and ready to turn the industry around, prevent mass unemployment in October, and keep aviation workers ready to lift off as travel picks back up. We urge you to include this simple and necessary provision in the next COVID-19 response package, and appreciate your continued support for airline and airline contractor employees in our country.”

AFA-CWA, ALPA, CWA, IAM, the TWU, and TTD collectively represent hundreds of thousands of aviation professionals, including aircraft cabin crews, ground crews, ticket and gate agents, aircraft cabin cleaners, pilots, and more.

Press contacts:

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA): Taylor Garland, tgarland@afacwa.org 
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA): David Weaver, david.weaver@alpa.org 
The Communications Workers of America (CWA): Amy Fetherolf, afetherolf@cwa-union.org 
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM): James Carlson, jcarlson@iamaw.org
The Transport Workers Union (TWU): Denise Romano, dromano@twu.org 
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD): Jonna Huseman, jonnah@ttd.org