The grants in the relief package provide paychecks for workers, not bailouts for airlines. These grants do one thing and one thing only: fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers like flight attendants, pilots, gate agents, mechanics, the people who clean planes, cook the food, and help people through the airport.
Secretary Mnuchin is threatening to take equity on the grants — leveraging the very people who make aviation fly and who right now are on the front-lines of this pandemic. Congress did not intend for this to work this way. The payroll grants are intended to keep us out of the unemployment line. The return to taxpayers is no involuntary furloughs or layoffs, keeping our vital industry intact for essential service during this national emergency, and our ability to continue to pay taxes, be consumers, and take care of ourselves and our families during this crisis. Warrants make sense on the loans, they do not make sense on the grants that are designated for our paychecks.
You can’t leverage people. We’re the ones the CARES Act is supposed to protect. This is our money, but the Secretary is planning to make conditions so onerous that the airlines can’t take it. That will mean hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and bankruptcies all over again. Not this time! This isn’t right. We are asking President Trump to make sure the Treasury Secretary doesn’t dismantle the bipartisan agreement to keep us in our jobs, connected to our paychecks and healthcare.