June 26 (UPI) -- Six airline unions are asking Congress for $32 billion to keep employees paid through next March while airline executives go to the White House Friday to talk about the shaky state of the aviation industry.
The Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendance-CWA, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Transport Workers Union, the Communications Workers of America and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO called for a new round of funding in a letter to lawmakers.
"Not only will hundreds of thousands of workers lose their jobs and health insurance, but the industry would lose a large portion of the experienced and credentialed workforce that will be critical to bringing the sector and the broader economy back to prosperity once the COVID-19 crisis is over," the labor leaders said in their letter Thursday.
"Airline industry employment cannot simply be put back together overnight, and mass layoffs will do great damage to the sector, with potentially irrevocable consequences," they added.
They said current stimulus funding meant to keep employees on the job expires at the end of September.
Meanwhile, the chief executives for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways will meet with Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials at the White House Friday.
They are expected to talk about the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the aviation industry and what the companies will do to keep passengers and employees safe as states continue to reopen their economies.
Some airlines have removed passengers and banned others for not wearing face coverings.