The Teamsters joined Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader and other aviation industry stakeholders at the Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing Summit, an event that was organized by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Business Travel Coalition. Teamsters and their allies brought attention to the life-threatening hazards to consumers and workers associated with having aircraft repaired overseas.
“Commercial carriers that have their fleets repaired in countries with lax regulation and oversight to cut costs are endangering their passengers,” said Capt. David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division Director. They are putting the lives of their passengers in the hands of non-certificated aviation maintenance helpers who are tasked with repairing an aircraft when they are not even licensed aircraft mechanics. Aircraft in the United States should be repaired only in the United States, by professionally licensed mechanics who abide by regulations that were implemented to prevent tragedy.”
Teamsters International Representative and Chairman of the Aviation Mechanics Coalition Chris Moore attended the summit, where he was on a panel that addressed the future of aviation maintenance. Moore emphasized that the Teamsters are working with their fellow airline unions to fight outsourcing.
“What the industry has never seen before, and what they’re about to see, is all of the major airline unions coming together as a group to talk about the same issues and move in the same direction,” Moore said.
The keynote address of the summit was given by legendary consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who tragically lost his grandniece when she was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash last March. Nader emphasized that if safety isn’t a priority, there could be more accidents to come.
“We are moving into a new era of risk,” Nader said. “It’s like if you had a rubber band, and you keep stretching it. You say, ‘things are okay, nothing’s happened!’ and then it snaps.”