FAA Shutdown Costs Taxpayers $200 Million a Week

This is a crosspost from blog.aflcio.org

By Tula Connell

As if the whimpering U.S. economy and the suffering American worker hadn’t had enough, the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is further slashing into the nation’s potential to recover.

House Republicans like John Mica (R-Fla.) are refusing to advance the multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill in the conference committee process unless it includes an unrelated union-busting provision they inserted in the House version of the bill. For air and rail union elections overseen by the National Mediation Board (NMB), the House version of the FAA legislation would change the rules to count eligible voters who did not participate in the election the same as actually having voted “No.”

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) pulled together the facts below showing the financial cost of the House Republicans’ anti-union ideological blindness over the FAA Reauthorization bill.

— $200 Million: The weekly cost to taxpayers due to the FAA shutdown.

— $2.5 Billion: The total scale of airport construction projects on hold due to the FAA shutdown. For a list of projects on hold, including location and dollar amount, click here.

— 4,000: The number of FAA employees nationwide who are furloughed due to the shutdown.

— 280,000: The number of jobs that would be created by passing a multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill.

— Zero: The number of members of Congress who would have won their most recent election if subjected to the rules Mica is insisting apply to air/rail union elections. As a report from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) demonstrates, if congressional and Senate elections were conducted under the proposed standards for NMB elections that remain the sticking point in the conference committee negotiations, zero current members of Congress would have won their last election.

— Zero: The number of other elections in our nation, whether for union representation, members of Congress, or “American Idol,” that count non-participating eligible voters as having voted “No.”

As CWA notes:

Sensible members of both parties should recognize that the FAA shutdown is too costly and that the benefits of the FAA Reauthorization bill are too numerous to allow Rep. Mica and his ideological cohorts to continue to hold up legislative passage. Removing the contentious and unrelated NMB provision and passing the FAA Reauthorization bill is sensible, fair, and good for the economy, job seekers, travelers, and the aviation industry.


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