Tue, Mar 06, 2007
Says US Aviation At 'Critical Juncture' As Funding Battle
This week, transportation
labor leaders unveiled an FAA Reauthorization agenda that "enhances
aviation safety, protects aviation employees, supports good jobs
and boosts aviation trust fund and general treasury funding to
ensure a sound aviation system."
"This bill will impact everything from jobs and workers' rights
to safety, security and how prepared our aviation system is for the
looming capacity crisis," said Edward Wytkind, President of the
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). "Transportation
Labor looks forward to working with lawmakers to chart a safe and
secure course for aviation that incorporates the needs of private
and public sector workers."
At the biannual meeting of TTD's 32-member Executive Committee,
transportation labor leaders approved a comprehensive proposal for
FAA reauthorization -- and it's not limited to funding issues.
Highlights of their proposal include:
- Congress must increase funding for all aspects of the aviation
system to match the projected boom in air travel in the coming
- Stating the FAA continues to take advantage of a poorly
constructed law to refuse good faith negotiations with its unions,
the leaders say Congress must clarify that contract terms cannot be
imposed on workers and instead resolved through binding
- Congress must address minimum rest requirements for airline
pilots and flight attendants.
- Congress must reject any attempts by the Administration or
others to change aviation laws to allow cabotage (domestic
point-to-point travel) operations by foreign carriers, or expand
foreign control of US airlines.
- Once again stating foreign aircraft repair stations are exempt
from safeguards such as drug and alcohol testing for employees,
unscheduled inspections and oversight of certain repair work, FAA
must implement and enforce regulations to close safety and security
While most workplace safety
regulations are governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act
(OSHA), the group says the same is not true for aircraft cabins. To
better protect flight attendants from unsafe conditions, OSHA
standards must be applied and enforced.
- Leaders claim the FAA is badly mismanaging an air traffic
staffing crisis, with 12,000 fully trained workers needed by 2015.
Congress must provide oversight and funding to ensure a safe level
of highly skilled and trained controllers, inspectors and
- As air traffic increases and the potential for runway accidents
also increases, airports must install additional warning systems,
enhanced signage and improved lighting systems.
- FAA standards for Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting are woefully
out of date. Since airport fire departments are not required to be
capable of performing passenger rescue in the event of a crash or
on-board fire, FAA standards must be updated.
- New technology is being installed to improve the safety of
helicopter pilots who fly to and from oil platforms in the Gulf of
Mexico. Congress must conduct oversight and ensure that these
safety initiatives are properly funded and carried out.
- The group claims FedEx and other companies have been allowed to
misuse labor law and misclassify their delivery truck drivers and
mechanics as aviation workers to make it more difficult for
employees to unionize. It is time for Congress to step in and stop
anti-union companies from misusing laws to block organizing
attempts by workers.
"Aviation workers are key to a safe and efficient air travel
system that is a critical part of the global economy," Wytkind
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