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Unions Says Trump ‘Sided With’ Qatar Airways/Air Italy ‘Over’ U.S. Airline Workers

Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen: “Foreign Carriers ‘Should Not Be Allowed To Grow Into Our Markets Using’ Government Subsidies – ‘Essentially Forcing American Workers To Compete Against’ Foreign Governments.”

Published Tuesday, August 6, 2019
by Ted Reed/Forbes
Unions Says Trump ‘Sided With’ Qatar Airways/Air Italy ‘Over’ U.S. Airline Workers

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Republican President Donald Trump has consistently expressed support for protecting American jobs - but four top Airline Industry Labor Leaders say that support seemed to waver at a White House meeting held last month.

The July 19th White House meeting was expected to help resolve the continuing controversy over subsidized Qatar Airways’ investment in Air Italy.

Instead, Trump appeared to be more closely aligned with Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker then with the CEOs of American Airlines and United Airlines, which jointly employ about 200,000 Workers, the vast majority of them in the United States.

The meeting “was ‘disrespectful to U.S. Workers who have been pleading for our government to enforce agreements (with Mideast Carriers) so that we can compete on a level playing field,’” said Sara Nelson, the President of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-Communications Workers of America), which represents about 50,000 Flight Attendants - including about 25,000 at United.

“(Trump) is a guy ‘who is supposed to be for’ American jobs,” Nelson said. “But he was ‘cozying up to Al Bakar.’  ‘There was an exchange between them indicating that they go back a long way.’  This meeting ‘was billed as an effort to resolve the issue of the Qatar Airways relationship with Air Italy, but the outcome was worse than doing nothing.’  Donald Trump ‘said a year ago he was going to handle it - now he’s passing the buck.’”

Nelson did not say who briefed her on details of the meeting.

The meeting’s apparent resolution was a recommendation that the three global U.S. carriers seek a resolution through an unpromising complaint process at the Transportation Department.

Lori Bassani, the President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents 28,000 American Airline Flight Attendants, said: “Trump ‘ran on the issue of keeping American jobs in the U.S., but that’s not how it played out’ (in the White House meeting).  ‘Instead, (Trump) sided with the Middle East airlines.’  ‘It was a shock to us.’”

Many details of the meeting were revealed in a July 29th NBC News story headlined: "Inside Trump's Apprentice-worthy Showdown with Airline CEOs."

The subhead noted: "The president rebuffed U.S. airlines and trade advisor Peter Navarro in a tense Oval Office meeting."

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed/2019/08/05/qatar-airwaysair-italy-us-flights-continue-after-white-house-meeting-tilts-against-us-airline-workers/?fbclid=IwAR3smKRmWTGiu3TqWB6zcwZK99yBYgfcDZvcwgpfxiNrFH1KjIDR0V2VevI#220757fe317c

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