Hoffa Lauds Senate for Ending FAA Shutdown, Putting People Back to Work

Aug 04, 2011, 17:27 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamsters President Condemns Republicans for Hostage Taking

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today praised the Senate and administration officials for acting responsibly and ending the impasse over Federal Aviation Administration spending.

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According to news reports, the Senate has agreed to a compromise with House Republicans. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood agreed to waive cuts to Essential Air Service, a sticking point in the standoff. A vote is expected tomorrow.

"I applaud the Senate and Secretary LaHood for their willingness to put the public interest first," Hoffa said. "But this hostage-taking has to stop. House Republicans can't continue to threaten the well-being of our country for petty partisan advantage. Our elected officials should not be forcing Americans out of work to settle political scores."

The dispute between the House and Senate over air service for small communities masked the real reason lawmakers couldn't agree on funding the FAA. Republicans want to repeal a commonsense change in the union election rule implemented by the National Mediation Board last year. The rule no longer counts absent voters as "no" votes. As a result, union elections are now just like every other election in a democracy. But because Republican leaders oppose workers' rights, safety and modernization projects are halted and people are losing their jobs.

"I'm also pleased that the Senate is standing firm on the basic democratic principle that the majority rules in a union election for airline workers," Hoffa said. "If House members were elected by the same system they want to impose on airline workers, none of them would be in office today."

An estimated 74,000 construction and agency workers were idled because of the partial FAA shutdown.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hard-working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Go to www.teamster.org for more information.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters