The IAM along with other aviation unions are lauding 223 bipartisan members of Congress for calling for an extension of the CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 31, 2021.

The program, which allocated grants to commercial airlines and airline contractors for the exclusive purpose of keeping employees on payroll with wages and benefits, is set to expire September 30, 2020.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) led the letter to congressional leadership.

 “The IAM thanks the 223 members of Congress for swiftly responding to the airline industry’s call for an extension of the Payroll Support Program grants,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The continuation of this program is vital to protecting the livelihoods of thousands of Machinists come October 1. The IAM will continue to lead the fight on Capitol Hill to ensure our members’ futures.”

With the resurgence of COVID-19 in several states across the country and a vaccine for the virus yet to be developed, passenger demand for air travel will not recover before the PSP expires. Without an extension of the PSP before then, hundreds of thousands of airline workers could be furloughed on October 1.

 As a response to the worst financial crisis in U.S. airline industry history brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. airlines received $50 billion under the March 2020 CARES Act, with $25 billion in direct grants to be utilized exclusively for the continuation of airline workers’ pay, benefits, and employment.