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WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The CEOs of major U.S. airlines are set to hold a meeting Friday to discuss several coronavirus-related travel issues, including a push to convince the federal government to mandate temperature checks for passengers, three people briefed on the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

The meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and other senior U.S. officials is expected to include the chief executive officers of American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), United Airlines (UAL.O) and JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O), the sources said.

The White House confirmed Pence would meet with airline executives Friday afternoon, but did not identify the companies.

The discussions will also include potential extended European Union travel restrictions on U.S. travelers, contract tracing of passengers and the impact of COVID-19 on travel demand, among other issues, the sources said.

The airlines declined to comment on the meeting.

U.S. airlines are pushing the Trump administration to require temperature checks for passengers in a bid to reassure customers about the safety of travel in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airlines for America, which represents the largest U.S. airlines, said on Thursday its members voluntarily pledged to refund tickets for passengers with high temperatures during federal screenings.

Reuters reported May 9 the U.S. government has been studying imposing temperature checks at airports, but two U.S. officials said on Thursday no decision has been made – and the government still has not decided what agency would conduct tests.

Many believe the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would conduct tests, but questions remain including whether passengers with high fevers would be reported to public health authorities.

“Nobody wants to be the person that tells a flying, paying customer they can’t fly that day,” United Executive Chairman Oscar Munoz said during a video conference Thursday.

U.S. officials said temperature checks would not eliminate coronavirus risks but could deter unwell people from traveling.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported the White House wants a plan in place by Sept. 1 for airlines to collect contact tracing information from U.S.-bound international passengers after convening a high-level White House meeting.

The White House tasked a interagency working group with adopting an interim solution by June 30 and ahead of any potential coronavirus second wave.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an interim final rule to require airlines to collect five contact data elements from international passengers and electronically submit them to Customs and Border Protection to facilitate contact tracing.

 

                                                              American Airlines CEO Attacks United Airlines

THE REAL REASON AMERICAN AIRLINES CEO UNLOADED ON UNITED

Want to know why American Airlines CEO Doug Parker called out United Airlines earlier this week for its choice to move some workers from full-time to part-time? Because United Airlines actually read the act.

American Airlines CEO Attacks United Airlines

Speaking to employees yesterday via telephone, AA CEO Doug Parker told labor management according to Forbes:

“Some airlines think it is OK to go and cut employees’ hours. One [airline] is cutting full-time from 40 hours to 30, a 25% cut in pay. I was there when we were working on CARES and that wasn’t the intent or meaning of it.

“And that is not just for union employees – it is for non-union, too. We disagree with [United’s] position, and if anyone asks, we will let them know we disagree with their position.”

That’s a bold statement, made all the more credible because it goes against Parker’s self-interest in survival. As United Airlines has taken a pessimistic approach to the future of aviation, American Airlines has largely been optimistic. Foolishly so, it seems, but that is a separate discussion.

Furthermore, American Airlines has asked workers to work part-time, so the key question is whether airlines can force workers to work part-time. It is not whether the act requires all workers to work full-time.

But is Parker correct? Let’s look at the act.

CARES ACT Doesn’t Prohibit Reduction In Hours

§4114 of the CARES Act states:

SEC. 4114. REQUIRED ASSURANCES.

(a) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible for financial assistance under this subtitle, an air carrier or contractor shall enter into an agree- ment with the Secretary, or otherwise certify in such form and manner as the Secretary shall prescribe, that the air carrier or contractor shall—

(1) refrain from conducting involuntary furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until September 30, 2020;

(2) through September 30, 2021, ensure that neither the air carrier or contractor nor any affiliate of the air carrier or contractor may, in any transaction, purchase an equity secu- rity of the air carrier or contractor or the parent company of the air carrier or contractor that is listed on a national securities exchange;

(3) through September 30, 2021, ensure that the air carrier or contractor shall not pay dividends, or make other capital distributions, with respect to the common stock (or equivalent interest) of the air carrier or contractor; and

(4) meet the requirements of sections 4115 and 4116.

§4115 says that United must still respect collective bargaining agreements while §4116 limits executive compensation and stock buybacks.

 

IAM Mourns Members Lost to COVID-19 Outbreak

The deadly COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across the globe has infected and taken the lives of thousands, including some of our own IAM Sisters and Brothers. We honor our fallen by celebrating their impact on our lives and the labor movement. They will not be forgotten. We also thank many of our fellow Sisters and Brothers who remain on the front-lines during the coronavirus outbreak, doing the essential work that keeps us all safe.

“This pandemic has had a tremendous impact on so many lives, including that of many of our Brothers and Sisters. Myself, the Executive Council and IAM members across North America offer our deepest condolences to the victims and stand with their family and friends as they grieve,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We will get through these hard times together, in solidarity.”

We will continue to update the list of fallen IAM members as we learn of them.

Carlos Consuegra (Local 914, District 141) of Union City, NJ, passed away on March 26, 2020. Consuegra, 52, had worked as a ramp service employee for United Airlines at Newark International Airport since 2007. The longtime worker was described as a mentor to other workers at the airport. “He was a good worker. If you didn’t know how to do something, he would teach you,” one worker told NJ.com.

David Veloz (Local 126, District 8) of Chicago, passed away on April 7, 2020. Veloz, 64, served as foreman and machinist at a building-maintenance division for the City of Chicago. Veloz, a U.S. Navy veteran, was an active union member and a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor. He was described as a strong advocate for workers’ rights and protections. “I was talking to him right up through when he was put into the hospital. Always thinking about his fellow workers. He was just that kind of guy. It’s a terrible loss for us as an organization and as an individual,” said IAM Local 126 Business Representative Ryan Kelly.

Elton Washington (Local 751C, District 751) of Everett, WA, passed away on March 22, 2020. Washington, 57, was a longtime Boeing Co. worker and a shop steward. He was a flight-line inspector and was described as a family man who loved going on vacation with them. “My dad loved his family and friends but he really loved my mom. That was his best friend, and I know that he’s back with her and they’re both watching me,” wrote his son E.J.

100 American Airlines flight attendants, 41 pilots test positive for coronavirus

Flight crews are still testing positive for coronavirus despite the worldwide slowdown in air travel.

One hundred American Airlines flight attendants had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Saturday, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents that airline’s 27,000 cabin crew employees, the group’s spokesman, Paul Hartshorn Jr.  confirmed to USA TODAY.

In a statement, Julie Hendrick, AFPA’s new president, said the union had been pushing American as early since January to be more proactive regarding protection for front-line workers.

“We have consistently advocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of our Flight Attendants to be available on every aircraft, for social distancing between passengers and crew jump seats, for thermal scanning in the airports, and to receive immediate notification of Flight Attendants who have tested positive for the virus,” she said. “Flight Attendants are aviation’s first responders who are transporting medical personnel and supplies into COVID-19 hotspots, and they need to be treated and protected as such.”

On Thursday, Capt. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the union that represents American Airlines pilots, told USA TODAY that 41 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Flight crews are a unique and effective (carrier) for the virus, as the only group traveling repeatedly and rapidly across the country,” he said.

Therefore, he added, “It is critical that flight crews receive “first responder” status and priority for protective equipment. It is equally critical that a more robust screening program be instituted for flight crews and passengers, including priority virus testing for crewmembers.

“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority. We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety related measures,” the airline said in a statement shared by spokesperson, Ross Feinstein. “We continue to look at all ways we can care for – and protect – our team during this stressful time.”

One American flight attendant, Philadelphia-based crew member Paul Frishkorn, died on March 23.

Lori Bassani, the previous president of AFPA, told USA TODAY, “When this hits one of your own, it sheds a whole new light on the coronavirus,” said Bassani. “This does spread more fear among our ranks. This is a killer virus, unlike any we have experienced.”

On Monday, the Transport Workers Union of America, which represents more than 65,000 aviation workers who work for American Airlines and Southwest Airlines among others, sent a letter to the FAA and OSHA regarding the health and safety of airline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter requested aircraft be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in between flights and asked that flight attendants be provided with personal protective equipment.

On Wednesday, Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said that currently, less than 1% percent of the airline’s 60,000 employees have contracted the virus and they will continue to make sure their aircraft and work environments are clean according to CDC guidelines.

Contributing: Bryan Alexander

More:Chicago, Los Angeles and more airports shutter gates, runways as coronavirus halts travel

More:Florida travelers with coronavirus visited 46 U.S. states, 75 foreign destinations before diagnosis

Coronavirus Kills United Airlines EWR Employee; Two Others Test Positive

The global pandemic Coronavirus has claimed the life of a United Airlines Newark employee according to company officials.

In a statement released by United Airlines managers released the following:

“It’s with deep sympathy that I share the unfortunate passing of Mr. Carlos Consuegra, one of our Ramp Service Employees here at Newark”.

Officials said Carlos was a member of United Airlines’ hub since 2007.

“It is a true tragedy to lose a member of our Newark family under such circumstances.

We have been working closely with our Corporate Medical Department, the CDC and local health authorities during this entire pandemic and working together with all our employees on keeping each of you protected against the virus.

Officials say Carlos was admitted to the hospital at the end of last week, and then diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after.

 

Machinists Union Statement on Milwaukee Molson Coors Shooting

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2020 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) releases the following statement on the shooting at Molson Coors Beverage Company in Milwaukee. The IAM represents approximately 50 mechanics and machine repair workers at the brewery. They are represented by IAM Locals 66 and 510 in Milwaukee.

“The Machinists Union is deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred Wednesday at the Molson Coors Beverage Company in Milwaukee. We want to express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families, the members of IAM Locals 66 and 510, and all our union sisters and brothers affected by this senseless act of violence. We are working closely with the company and fellow unions and are in the process of deploying resources and counselors from the IAM Employee Assistance Program, as we know many workers will need support in dealing with this tragedy.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in manufacturing, aerospace, defense, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking and other industries. For more information, visit goIAM.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“American Airlines wants to slash the pay of its employees; they want to outsource jobs,” Sanders told the crowd. “They want to take away health care benefits, and they want to abolish its defined benefit pension plan.”

 

“This is exactly what Americans are sick and tired of. And it’s not just American Airlines. Companies make good profits in America, and then they shut down and move to some desperate developing country.”

“American Airlines is not a poor, struggling company,” Sanders continued. “Last year, it made a net profit of $1.4 billion. This is a company that had enough money to pay its CEO, Doug Parker, over $19 million in compensation last year. This is a company that had enough money to buy back $15 billion of its own stocks during a five-year period.”

“So, today I say to the CEO of American Airlines… You damn well have enough money to pay your workers a decent wage with good benefits.”