Labor groups slam Treasury for ‘playing games’ with airline bailout terms
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Airlines and the U.S. government reached a deal Tuesday that will open the cash taps and help keep the carriers aloft for at least a few months.
And while unions that represent many airline employees have praised the deal for keeping their jobs secure — for now — that enthusiasm is tempered with concern that the longer term outlook for airlines may still be grim.
“We do not believe these grants are being implemented as intended in the bipartisan CARES Act,” the leaders of the Association of Flight Attendants said in a letter to their members Tuesday.
In a separate statement, Sara Nelson, the organization’s president, said that Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was “playing games” with the aid.
“We have seen what happens when investment bankers like Secretary Mnuchin control the outcomes, and we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” she said.
According to Joe DePete, the president of the Air Line Pilot Association, the concern is that much of the aid to airlines is now being treated as loans instead of grants. Requiring airlines to pay back the funds, he said in a statement, “will make it harder to stop layoffs and slow the recovery.
“In spite of this,” he continued, “we remain optimistic that more carriers will avail themselves of this funding — and that Congress will seek to overturn the constraints placed on this worker assistance program.”
The Transportation Trades Department, a consortium of various unions that represent airline workers, was even more direct in its criticism.
“The decision by the Department of Treasury to turn a portion of those grants into loans is irresponsible and without merit, flies in the face of Congressional intent, and creates a long-term burden that is likely to harm the very people the grants were designed to help: frontline aviation workers,” the group said in a statement.
Not all unions expressed such concerns though. The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, said it was pleased with the aid package, without any qualifications.
“We are deeply grateful for the support of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and for the bipartisan efforts of the White House and Congress. Today was an important step toward ensuring that our industry and nation remain strong during this battle,” Eric Ferguson, the group’s president, said in a statement.
Travel demand continues to stay depressed as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, and it’s currently unclear what aid will be available to airlines come fall when the terms of the current package expire. It’s possible that the government will pass another aid package, or airlines may have to turn to the private sector for continued support.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees