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Sat, Sep 21, 2019

House Transportation Committee Passes 'Fair And Open Skies Act'

Would Prevent Foreign Air Carriers From 'Undermining' Labor Rights Or Standards

The House Transportation Committee has approved "The Fair and Open Skies Act", which is intended to "ensure that authorizations issued by the Secretary of Transportation to foreign air carriers do not undermine labor rights or standards."

H.R. 3632 precludes DOT from permitting a future foreign airline to serve the U.S. under the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transportation Agreement unless the Secretary of Transportation determines the permit is consistent with the fair labor standards and fair competition requirements of the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transport Agreement and imposes on the permit any conditions necessary to ensure compliance with those standards and requirements.

H.R. 3632 further requires the Secretary, when permitting a future foreign airline, to find the foreign air transportation to be provided will be in the public interest. H.R. 3632 provides that preventing entry into the United States markets by a “flag of convenience” carrier—established in a country other than the home country of its majority owner to avoid regulations of its home country—or otherwise undermining labor standards is within the public interest.

“Today’s passage of my Fair and Open Skies Act is the first step toward ensuring that any airline that seeks to undermine the strongest U.S. and European labor standards be prohibited from flying to or from the United States,” said Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “This bipartisan bill ensures fair competition and seeks to prevent a race to the bottom in international civil aviation. Going one step further than the bill I introduced last Congress on this issue, this bill states that preventing a foreign airline from undermining labor standards is, in fact, in the public interest. We have the largest, most complex, airspace in the world and we must continue to ensure it runs safely, efficiently, and fairly.”

“Today’s markup is a reminder of how this committee has historically been one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress and it’s a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together. I’m proud to be the lead Republican on two of the bills marked up today. The Fair and Open Skies Act will ensure safety throughout our airways by making sure foreign airlines are not skirting regulations or labor standards and the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund Act will help communities recover more quickly when disaster strikes. I’m hopeful we’ll continue this record of bipartisanship when we look to address major issues like a highway reauthorization bill later this year and into the next,” said Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL).

ALPA released a statement supporting the move.

"The Fair and Open Skies Act enables the Department of Transportation to prevent airlines with flag-of-convenience business models and other atypical employment practices from serving the United States. These venue-shopping efforts allow airlines to undermine workers’ pay, benefits, and work rules. In addition, they also threaten to erode the proactive safety culture that we have fostered here in the United States," the union statement said.

“Currently, pilots across Europe are fighting back against these schemes and it’s more important than ever that we defend a fair and free marketplace for U.S. airlines and their employees, as well as maintain safety.

“ALPA calls on Congress to put a stop to these business schemes that undermine labor rights, safety, and the competitiveness of the U.S. airline industry and pass the Fair and Open Skies Act to help level the playing field and keep our skies safe.”

(Source: News releases)

FMI: transportation.house.gov
Bill text
www.alpa.org

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