March 23, 2020
On behalf of more than 600,000 active and retired members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), I strongly urge you to support necessary financial assistance to support the U.S. aerospace manufacturing industry and the millions of jobs it supports as part of the urgent relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The domestic aerospace industry and the highly skilled workforce on which it relies are facing dire economic consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. It is vitally important to our national security, our domestic supply chain, and our role in the global economy that this industry and the workers which are its backbone receive immediate financial support.
As the largest aerospace manufacturing union in North America, the IAM and its members know well the importance of this vital industry. The industry provides for nearly 900,000 direct jobs and accounts for more than 2.5 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs. Many of these jobs are high-skilled, union jobs and are proven gateways to the middle class. The U.S. aerospace industry contributes more than $25 billion in annual economic activity and is one of the few industries where the United States enjoys a positive balance of trade. Moreover, the industry is pivotal to our national security, vital to our domestic supply chains, and prolific in promoting innovation and new technologies.
While putting together a COVID-19 relief package for this and any other industry, we must remember to put hardworking Americans and their families first. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, IAM members in the aerospace industry have already received more than 13,000 layoff notices from companies as large as General Electric and Spirit Aerosystems. This unprecedented number of layoffs continues to grow every day as companies shut down due to government restrictions and an inability for companies to ensure a safe work environment.
The IAM believes that over 500,000 aerospace production jobs could be in jeopardy. The loss of these jobs will impact every state in the country, through lost tax revenue and increased demand on social safety nets. This strategic industry cannot be saved without first ensuring the economic security of the workers who make it thrive. Any relief package to the aerospace industry should include provisions to prevent layoffs and protect workers’ salaries, healthcare insurance, fringe benefits, and all provisions in the applicable collective bargaining agreements (CBA). Provisions must be included to prohibit relief recipients from outsourcing and offshoring of work covered under a CBA, and recipients must be prohibited from using the funds for executive pay increases, stock buybacks, or payment of dividends.
The aerospace manufacturing industry is without question indispensable to our domestic economic health and national security. As you work on a COVID-19 relief package to promote public health and mitigate the economic harm of this pandemic, I urge you to provide urgently needed financial assistance to this strategically essential domestic industry.
For more information, please contact IAM Legislative Director Hasan Solomon at (301) 967-4575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Martinez, Jr.