Forget “Fight For 15!” The Air Line Pilots Association is lobbying for a new bill released by House Transportation Committee Chairman Pete DeFazio (D-Airlines For America) among others that would effectively prevent foreign airlines from flying to the U.S. if they aren’t paying competitive wages.
The measure is also being supported by the Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots), Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (Sara Nelson), International Association of Machinists, Teamsters, Transportation Workers Union, UNITE HERE and others. We thought the campaign by U.S. airlines against Open Skies Treaties was over but now we have the ‘Fair and Open Skies Act’.
Members of Congress specifically cite the Obama Administration’s decision to allow Norwegian to fly to the U.S., which it was legally entitled to do, as what they’re trying to prevent in the future. They don’t want more Norwegians that bring down the price of airfare and make it difficult for higher cost U.S. airlines to compete.
Copyright william87 / 123RF Stock Photo
Already in the last15 months the U.S. federal government has appropriated $79 billion for U.S. airlines, not counting ticket tax relief and the ability to forestall pension contributions (placing pensions as a greater potential taxpayer liability), as well as billions to airports. Now ALPA and a bipartisan group in Congress want to foist higher airfares on customers to protect union wages. At some point the cost per job to taxpayers needs to be a simple, transparent appropriation that can be voted up or down.
Fortunately this legislation currently has next to no chance of passage in the near-term. Unless it’s included in a bill that qualifies for reconciliation, it won’t move through the Senate because it won’t garner 60 votes. And it’s questionable whether it could qualify for inclusion in a reconciliation package because that would require arguing its primary function is budgetary rather than regulatory (in other words, the exact opposite of its purpose).
Make though mistake though this is unions against workers as long as those workers aren’t their own members. It’s a way to keep costs high and fares high. They’ll claim it has something to do with safety but foreign carriers operating to the U.S. have to abide by U.S. safety standards. Even their home country safety regulators are audited – not merely the airlines themselves.