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ALPA Asks Congress to Extend Payroll Support Program to Avoid Layoffs

The Air Lines Pilots Association is calling on their unionized pilots and the public to call Congress and ask them to extend the Payroll Support Program from the CARES Act. The union fears that without an extension, mass layoffs will affect pilots and others employed in aviation.

The Air Lines Pilots Association (ALPA) is mobilizing union members and the public to call Congress and ask them to extend the Payroll Support Program provision from the CARES Act. Over 23,000 people sent electronic letters to their representatives and senators, asking for additional funding to protect jobs supported by the aviation sector.

“Should October 1 arrive without extending the Payroll Support Program…mass layoffs are inevitable”

In their letter-writing campaign, the ALPA notes statements made by all three legacy carriers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. While American and United are notifying tens of thousands of employees that layoffs could be inevitable, Delta recently expressed their worry about route expansion in light of the spread of COVID-19, and encouraged employees to accept a voluntary leave package.

“Should October 1 arrive without extending the Payroll Support Program grant job program, mass layoffs are inevitable, as airline executives have acknowledged,” the ALPA writes on their website. “We are asking for Congress to support a clean extension of the Payroll Support Program through March 31, 2021, to bolster not only the aviation industry and its workers but also to support our nation’s economic recovery.”

The language is much more direct in sample letters to Congress written by the ALPA. The union claims aviation is responsible for five percent of the U.S. GDP, and if airlines go through with layoffs, the entire economy could falter.

Officials from the labor union say without aid from Capitol Hill, the airlines could cut numerous jobs before the end of the year. Although they say they are willing to work with the carriers towards “creative ways to mitigate the effects that the recent economic downturn has on pilots,” they need Congress to be a partner in their success.

“The economic impact COVID-19 has had on the airline industry has been profound for the workers who keep our skies safe and our world connected,” Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, thousands of pilots and crewmembers have received furlough notices and, absent congressional action, it is likely that there will be more to come.”

ALPA Calls for Additional $32 Billion in Funding, Extending Furlough Ban to 2021

In their appeal, the ALPA is calling for another $32 billion round of funding through the Payroll Support Program, to be sent immediately to airlines. The union says additional funding will cover an additional six months for airline employees. In turn, they want a requirement of the carriers to “Extend requirements relating to involuntary furloughs, share repurchases, dividend payments, and collective bargaining agreements to Mar. 31, 2021.”

The call matches those made by other unions hoping to save jobs. Both the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and the Transport Workers Union of America have sent similar letters or started campaigns with the hopes of extending the employee program.

Congress has not indicated whether or not they will consider additional support to the aviation sector.

jayer July 13, 2020

The Covid economic collapse meant I "got to" retire a year or two earlier than I planned. Employer shut down for a month and re-opened 60 percent smaller, and that was more people than they really still need. (But good for the fortunate 40 percent). I'd love Congress to guarantee my full salary for a year too. I hate to sound like I'm singing "share the misery", but with no expectation of air travel fully rebounding in 2021 I don't see this happening for them.

Tsun July 13, 2020

Yeah, I want $32B of free money as well, it's really vital to the economy!

Global321 July 12, 2020

Pilots starting pay is $75k per year and rise to well above $300k. They are flying a lot less - and will be flying less for the foreseeable future. In short, there is an excess of pilots (and FA's) and many will lose their jobs. Why should the government continue to pay for high paid employees at private companies? And no pay cuts despite very little flying over the last several months.

edgewood49 July 12, 2020

Here's the problem with extending ALPA's request to do so opens the door to all the other groups demanding the something, let alone the fact the continued hit to the deficit, which one of these days will have to be paid back, mainly by the next two generations thats not very appealing. Having said that we are talking about people. We have to knock this virus down but like the airline industry that will take a long time