A statement from CWA President Chris Shelton on the coronavirus economic stimulus package agreement reached in the U.S. Senate that includes $25 billion in grants for airlines to keep employees on payroll through September 30.
“CWA is pleased that the bill has been improved to ensure that the drastic reduction in airline travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not result in massive layoffs that would leave hundreds of thousands of workers without a paycheck. Senate Democrats heard workers’ voices and insisted that any company taking federal grants or loans to get through this crisis must not leave their workers behind, and fought to make sure the bill included a ban on layoffs and involuntary furloughs for those receiving funds. They made sure that restrictions on stock buybacks and executive compensation for companies accepting taxpayer-funded grants and loans were included in the final deal, despite objections from the Senate Republican leadership and corporate executives.
We are grateful to Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi for standing strong and turning around what was a handout to corporate executives and Wall Street into a package that will protect workers and their contracts. We hoped that the bill would have provided protections for workers in the event that an airline declares bankruptcy and we will continue to fight for those critical protections in these uncertain economic times.
Shame on any airline that does not take this opportunity to provide stability for its workers and their families during this time of fear and uncertainty.”