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03.19.20

IFPTE Authors Letter Supporting Aerospace Industry Workforce

March 19, 2020

Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker
United States House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510

Honorable Charles Schumer, Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-221 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer,

As the executive officers of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), representing upwards of 90,000 workers, we are writing to urge you to support the workers, the communities, and the jobs that have made the domestic aerospace industry the top export industry in the United States. The domestic aerospace workforce – including the 20,000 represented by The Society of Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001 (SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001) – and the industry they work in are facing a dire financial crisis as aerospace manufacturing and the associated supply chain is hampered by a confluence of cyclical factors, the 737 MAX groundings, and now the still-unfolding global impact of COVID-19.

It is our understanding that the Boeing Company and others are in discussions with the Trump Administration and Congress regarding an aid package worth as much as $60 billion. IFPTE fully supports federal assistance for our domestic aerospace industry and its associated supplier network, which stretches across the U.S. and includes Kansas-based sub-assembly manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems, where our union represents over 2,600 workers.

However, we urge Congress to ensure that the economic security of workers in this strategic industry be prioritized. As America and the world face an unprecedented crisis, stabilizing this industry with tax-payer dollars is necessary, but it is not possible to do so without first ensuring the economic security of the workers that make this industry strategic and vital to the U.S. economy.

Therefore, IFPTE requests that the necessary federal financial assistance for the U.S. aerospace industry include the following requirements:

  • recipients must prioritize meeting all obligations to existing collective bargaining agreements (CBAs);

  • recipients must offer furloughed workers the ability to remain on employer health and benefit plans at active employee rates;

  • recipients must maintain existing pension benefits for employees and continue all pension fund contributions and nonelective retirement fund contributions;

  • recipients cannot apply financial assistance to bonuses or pay increases for executives and senior management;

  • recipients are prohibited from share repurchases for at least 10 years after federal financial assistance ends;

  • recipients must suspend paying dividends to shareholders during the federal financial assistance period;

  • recipients cannot abrogate CBA obligations under bankruptcy proceedings;

  • recipients that have negotiated a concessionary CBA while receiving federal financial assistance are subject to a snap-back mechanism to renegotiate or reverse concessionary terms of the CBA as economic conditions improve;

  • recipients are prohibited from outsourcing of work within a union-represented bargaining unit;

  • recipients are prohibited from displacing workers with H-1B and L-1, other temporary workers;

  • recipients of federal financial assistance in excess of $1 billion must establish a seat on their board of directors for an appointee that is chosen by workers’ legal representative.
Further, we request that federal financial assistance recipients be prohibited from opposing and interfering with workers’ efforts to form and join a union. Finally, federal assistance must provide robust support for maintaining and expanding the domestic supply chain. IFPTE stands ready to assist during this national emergency. Should you have any questions, please contact either of us or IFPTE legislative representative Faraz Khan at 301-275-6038.

Sincerely,

Paul Shearon
IFPTE President

Matthew Biggs
Secretary-Treasurer/Legislative Director

IFPTE Letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer

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