Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FAA shutdown could cost 4X as many jobs as were created in June

So anti-union he'll force his constituents to lose their jobs. 
You'd think that even extremist politicians in Washington would hesitate to do something that threatens 90,000 jobs in the U.S. Especially when recovery from the Great Recession is so weak that only 18,000 American jobs were created in June. But you'd be wrong. The Republican leadership in Congress is so desperate to please certain airline CEOs that they forced a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.  

According to the IBT,
An estimated 90,000 construction and agency jobs are at risk because of the partial FAA shutdown. Four thousand FAA workers were furloughed over the weekend. Construction workers are losing their jobs in dozens of airports. The FAA has issued more than 60 stop orders. Work on new control towers has stopped at LaGuardia Airport; Las Vegas; Palm Springs, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Traverse City, Mich.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Gulfport, Miss.
Reports the Associated Press:
"It's frustrating," said Mike MacDonald, regional vice president of an FAA union representing nearly 1,200 engineers, architects, technicians and other workers who have been furloughed. "Why are we being used as pawns in this political game that has nothing to do with us?"
Most of his union's members "are like me - middle-aged with mortgages, kids in college and car loans," said MacDonald, 54, who has also been laid off. "It's scary."
Teamsters President Jim Hoffa says the impasse is "disgraceful."
The Republican leadership is trying to please certain airline CEOs who aim to weaken workers’ rights. It’s disgraceful for elected officials to force Americans out of work, let alone force them out of work in order to take away their democratic rights.
Here's what happened: For several years, Congress hasn't been able to agree on a long-term budget plan for the FAA because the House and the Senate can't agree on a bill. So Congress just votes to extend the previous budget authorization for another few months to keep the agency running.

After the Republicans won control of the House in November, they passed an FAA spending bill that makes it harder for airline workers to form a union.

So then Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican pictured above, changed the House version of the FAA extension to cut off funding for air service to small communities. He did it so Republican lawmakers could pretend that was the real reason they're forcing the partial FAA shutdown. (At least they're trying to hide their anti-worker agenda now).

Laura Clawson at Daily Kos explains:
Republicans are threatening these rural airports in order to get their way on the real issue: union rights for airline workers.
Here's the IBT on the reason for the shutdown: 

A dispute between the House and Senate over air service for small communities is masking the real reason lawmakers can’t agree on funding the FAA. Republicans want to repeal a commonsense change in the union election rule implemented by the National Mediation Board last year. The rule no longer counts absent voters as “no” votes. As a result, union elections are now just like every other election in a democracy. But because Republican leaders oppose workers’ rights, safety and modernization projects are halted and people are losing their jobs.
Here's how nuts these anti-worker politicians are: Orlando International Airport has plans to rehabilitate a major taxiway. But those plans are on hold now because Mica prefers pleasing anti-union CEOs to keeping his constituents working.

Says Hoffa,
It appears to be too much to ask the Republican leadership to uphold simple fairness in elections, keep people working and modernize our aviation system. They themselves wouldn’t be in office, if the rule they wanted in place applied to their own elections.