The TWU Endorses the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act – Ensures the Safety of Aviation Workers and the Flying Public, Prevents Offshoring
Updated On: Nov 22, 2019
The TWU Endorses the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act
Ensures the Safety of Aviation Workers and the Flying Public, Prevents Offshoring
Washington, DC – Today, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) strongly endorsed new legislation that raises the level of safety and security for aircraft maintenance. Introduced in the House of Representatives by Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Representative John Katko (R-NY), and Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act raises safety standards for U.S.-flagged aircraft maintained abroad to bring them in line with domestically maintained aircraft. This will not only better ensure the safety and security of frontline aviation workers and the flying public, but also deter offshoring of aircraft maintenance.
“The TWU is proud to support the Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act and we applaud Chairman DeFazio, Representative Garamendi, and Representative Katko’s commitment to air safety,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “The legislation will protect American jobs and American air travelers from a race to bottom on safety and labor standards in the airline industry.”
More than 900 aircraft maintenance and repair stations have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outside of the United States. The number of these facilities has grown by more than 30 percent in the past four years. These foreign repair stations are located all around the globe including China (78 facilities), Singapore (54), Brazil (22), Thailand (6), Costa Rica (3), and El Salvador (2).
The legislation would address five regulatory gaps that allow a lower safety standard for aircraft maintenance:
Drug and alcohol testing for safety sensitive personnel
Background checks for workers at maintenance facilities
Security threat assessments for these facilities
Unannounced inspections for maintenance operations
Minimum qualifications for aircraft mechanics
While Congress has directed the FAA twice before to address several of these gaps, the Administration has failed to take even cursory action on these mandates.
This un-level playing field for safety regulations is also costing American jobs. More than 8,200 aircraft maintenance jobs left the country in recent years.
“The job loss is caused by regulatory loopholes that let airlines cut costs by diminishing safety. We often hear that airlines ‘do not compete on safety.’ Congress and the Administration have to live up to this ideal by immediately closing all the loopholes that encourage moving maintenance work outside of the country,” Samuelsen said.
“By allowing these safety gaps to persist, the FAA is incentivizing offshoring U.S. jobs onto safety standards well-below the minimum at home. This practice should be unacceptable of any safety regulatory agency. We hope Congress will pass this legislation immediately to make it clear to the FAA that the American people expect them to maintain the safety of our airspace regardless of where aircraft are repaired,” Samuelsen concluded.
The Transport Workers Union of America represents more than 150,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transportation, utilities, universities and services sectors