Federal Program Would Keep Aerospace Workers on Payrolls

The proposal would fund up to 50% of compensation for “at-risk” employees.

Boeing 737-800 airplanes on the assembly line at Boeing's 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash.
Boeing 737-800 airplanes on the assembly line at Boeing's 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The leaders of the Senate’s aerospace caucus introduced legislation this week that would fund a portion of aviation manufacturers’ payrolls in an effort to prevent layoffs.

The proposal, introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Mark Warner, D-Va., would establish a temporary public-private partnership between the federal government and manufacturers certified by the FAA. In return for the companies agreeing to keep vulnerable workers on the job, the government would fund up to 50% of those workers' total compensation.

The bill would limit the share of employees that could qualify as “at-risk” for layoffs to 25% of a company’s overall workforce.

Proponents said the measure would ensure workers are fully compensated and in place as the industry recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, which all but shut down the aviation manufacturing sector amid stay-home orders, government travel restrictions and passengers staying put.

Moran and Warner also highlighted the industry’s vital role in national defense.

“Temporary and targeted assistance is needed to help save these jobs,” Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning said in a statement.

The measure follows a more than $2 trillion economic rescue package passed in late March that included $58 billion for the aviation industry.

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