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Larsen, Estes reintroduce legislation to protect and restore aerospace supply chain jobs

By Joseph Tutino | Office of Congressman Rick Larsen

  • For text of the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act of 2021, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2021 – Today, Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Ron Estes (KS-04) introduced bipartisan legislation to help prevent and recall aerospace supply chain furloughs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act of 2021 establishes a temporary relief program to provide a 50 percent cost-share to help cover costs of pay, benefits and training for employees at risk of being furloughed or who were furloughed due to the pandemic. The bill includes critical oversight provisions to restore American jobs, boost labor protections and prevent use of relief funding for stock buybacks or to pay dividends.

“In the Pacific Northwest, the highly skilled aviation manufacturing and maintenance workforce drives the economy and helps the U.S. remain competitive abroad,” said Rep. Larsen, Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee. “This bipartisan bill provides critical relief to help sustain the aerospace supply chain until the nation gets to the other side of the pandemic. I am committed to protecting these jobs and supporting the dedicated women and men who keep the supply chain moving during such challenging times.”

“Kansans have built general aviation and commercial airplanes for a century, helping us become the Air Capital of the World. However, the negative effects of COVID-19 have slowed production rates to record lows, putting thousands of Kansans out of work and jeopardizing our local companies’ stability,” said Rep. Estes. “The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act will help keep workers on the payroll and connected with their aviation jobs, which solves the short-term unemployment issue and keeps our skilled workforce here in the Sunflower State for the long term. This common sense, bipartisan legislation has the backing of the unions and workers and is a way for the Biden administration to rebuild our economy.”

More than 136,000 highly-skilled aerospace workers and more than 1,400 aerospace-related companies support Washington state’s aerospace supply chain and the regional economy.

Several supply chain stakeholders voiced their support for the bill, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Aerospace Futures Alliance, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

“We applaud Reps. Larsen and Estes for introducing this innovative payroll support legislation,” said Robert Martinez Jr., International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “Saving this critical industry and the livelihoods of the men and women who have made the aerospace sector thrive for generations is our top legislative priority. The federal funding authorized by this bill will be used for the sole purpose of keeping working families on the job and off of unemployment. As the largest aerospace and defense union in America, we proudly endorse this much-needed legislation and hope it is passed swiftly with bipartisan support.”

“IFPTE commends Representative Larsen for offering a bill that helps sustain the jobs of high-skill workers in the U.S. aircraft manufacturing industry. Our members at SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001 and throughout our union thank Rep. Larsen for his commitment to supporting these critical manufacturing jobs that will be necessary to drive the post-COVID economic recovery and our nation’s global economic competitiveness,” said Paul Shearon, International President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

“The aviation manufacturing and maintenance industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy and transportation system. The pandemic-related challenges and obstacles that industry and its highly skilled workforce face continue to be significant. We applaud Representatives Larsen and Estes for their leadership and support for aviation manufacturers and maintenance providers to retain and rehire their workforce. It is essential that both industry and government partner together to protect this vital job sector,” said Pete Bunce, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO.

“Throughout the pandemic, protecting the health, safety, and livelihoods of our world-class workforce has remained our industry’s focus,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “This temporary, targeted program will allow employers to save at-risk jobs and recall workers who have been furloughed and laid off. It also makes a real investment in the workforce powering our nation’s recovery by providing for training and upskilling. We commend Representatives Rick Larsen and Ron Estes for their leadership in prioritizing these workers and our national and economic security as the country continues to meet the challenges of this crisis.”

Larsen has championed federal relief funding to help save aviation and aerospace jobs and sustain the U.S. aerospace supply chain. In the recent COVID-19 relief package, Larsen helped secure an extension of the Payroll Support Program, which saved 950,000 aviation jobs across the country. Larsen also supported the Paycheck Protection Program which has helped aerospace manufacturers and maintenance companies save more than 1,500 aerospace jobs in Northwest Washington.

Reps. Adam Smith (WA-09), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), André Carson (IN-07) and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) signed on as original cosponsors of the bill.

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