WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2020) — Miami Air International, a charter airline founded in 1990 that today employs 350 people in the Miami area, including 150 Flight Attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA), will liquidate as early as Wednesday entirely due to the impact of COVID-19. All 350 Miami Air employees will be immediately laid off and lose healthcare at the end of May because Secretary Mnuchin failed to respond to the airline’s application for payroll grants.
On April 10th, Treasury released a statement on payroll support for small and medium passenger air carriers. “Small and medium-sized passenger aviation businesses are particularly vulnerable to the disruption from COVID 19. This determination will provide significant support to workers and businesses across the country.” That’s a direct quote from Secretary Mnuchin.
"Congress took action in the period of a week to save these jobs and create a $25 billion safety net for aviation workers, including the 350 at Miami Air. Mnuchin actively ignored Miami Air’s less than $10 million dollar payroll grant application for six weeks, and instead pushed the company off a cliff,” said Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson. "On Friday, workers received their last paycheck and learned the current owners plan to file for Chapter 7. Mnuchin can either get the payroll grant out the door today to protect these workers through September 30, or sign the pink slips himself.”
Miami Air filed for bankruptcy on March 24th, entirely due to loss of passenger demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, the same day the Senate finalized the CARES Act. The law provides financial assistance to airlines to keep aviation workers on the payroll and connected to their healthcare.
"Miami Air Flight Attendants have kept passengers safe for decades including the U.S. military, presidential campaigns, the press corps, professional sports teams, First Responders, and ushered terminally ill children to Disney World for their final wishes," said AFA Miami Air President Natasha Glasper. "Some of us have been here from the beginning. We thought the CARES Act bought us time to get our passengers back, but now after three decades we are losing everything overnight. I refuse to believe our government would leave us stranded when they had the ability to save us.”
AFA contacted Treasury repeatedly and implored the Secretary to act to save these jobs, good union jobs. Treasury refused to respond. The airline is still waiting to learn the status of their application, when billions of dollars went out the door to the largest airlines three weeks ago. Treasury can fix this today, or send 350 more people to the unemployment lines in Florida.