Joyce Leads Bipartisan Effort to Protect Thousands of Aviation Jobs

WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020 with Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (VI-At Large) to prevent massive layoffs and disruptions to the U.S. airline industry, which supports 158,094 Ohio jobs. Specifically, the bipartisan legislation would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) for six months through March 2021.

“When Congress passed the CARES Act, we created several programs to protect American workers, including the Payroll Support Program,” said Joyce. “This program has successfully kept hundreds of thousands of pilots, flight attendants, airline customer service agents, and aviation mechanics on payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But with air travel remaining at historic lows and the Payroll Support Program expiring on October 1st, tens of thousands of those workers are at risk of being laid off. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Plaskett to ensure the hardworking Americans in the aviation industry can keep the lights on and provide for their families as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic. I’m hopeful that Congress can come together quickly to enact a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill that includes this Payroll Support Program extension as well as additional relief for workers across all industries struggling during these difficult times.” 

Similar to the Payroll Protection Program, the PSP was created by the CARES Act and provided up to $32 billion in federal aid to maintain employment in the airline industry by providing funds to cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits. The funding was allocated to three types of businesses: $25 billion to passenger air carriers, $4 billion to cargo air carriers, and $3 billion to certain contractors providing services to air carriers. While the program has saved 950,000 jobs in the aviation industry, it is set to expire on October 1st.

“Congressman David Joyce has been a great friend to Flight Attendants with constant support for our health and safety at work,” said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “Now he’s taking the lead with Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett in fighting for our jobs by sponsoring H.R. 8345, the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020, to extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program through March 2021. In six days, hundreds of thousands of jobs in aviation and beyond will be lost and the air service necessary for people in every community whether they fly or not will begin to unravel. With one in fourteen jobs in our country supported by aviation, this bill is critically important for all of America. This bipartisan bill can be the basis for bringing all parties together for a full COVID relief bill. We are grateful to Congressman Joyce and we’re going to fight alongside him to get it done.”

“8,000 APFA Flight Attendants and their families are desperately awaiting Congressional action to save their jobs and keep the aviation industry poised for the economic recovery that we all hope is coming soon,” said APFA National President Julie Hedrick. “The bipartisan Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020, introduced by Representative Plaskett and Representative Joyce, needs to be considered and passed prior to October 1st, before tens of thousands of airline furloughs are set in stone. If we are going to save the airline industry, we have to do it now.”?????? 

“Six days. That is how long tens of thousands of airline workers have left before they lose their jobs, including 63,000 pilots,” said President of the Air Line Pilots Association Joseph G. DePete. “In the airline industry, a retroactive fix is not feasible. Pilots, for example, must undergo lengthy and expensive training and qualification requirements that take months before they could return to the line. The loss of hard to replace, skilled employees will hobble the industry’s ability quickly respond to increased demand once the virus’ intensity wanes or a vaccine is commercially available. This is a grim situation created by COVID-19 for which airline employees are in no way responsible. We have no time to waste. As airline employees face a drastic employment cliff on October 1, 2020, it is vital that we work cooperatively to preserve jobs and maintain the industry’s capacity to serve passengers, deliver cargo, and protect national security now.”

“We are grateful for the support of Rep. Plaskett and Rep. Joyce for extending the Payroll Support Program an effort to save the jobs of thousands of U.S. airline employees — flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, gate agents and others,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. In just six days, U.S. airlines will be forced to make very difficult business decisions, including announced furloughs and significant reductions in service, without additional federal aid. We are running out of time.”

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