International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) General Vice President Sito Pantoja today issued the following statement on President-elect Joseph Biden’s nomination of Pete Buttigieg to be his Secretary of Transportation:
“The IAM applauds President-elect Biden on nominating Pete Buttitieg, the first openly LBGTQ+ nominee candidate in U.S. history, to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation. This nomination is welcome news for the more than 100,000 IAM members working in the transportation industry. The Secretary of Transportation is the Cabinet position that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. As the nation’s largest air and rail union, the Machinists look forward to working with Buttigieg and his team on critical matters related to safely transporting people and cargo across the nation and around the world.
Transportation is only one of many industries decimated by COVID-19, but it is the industry the virus exploited to travel across the globe. If we had proper leadership in the White House and Department of Transportation that addressed the threat of COVID-19 at it’s outset and, among other initiatives, ordered masks to be worn by passengers and crew on aircraft and trains, our country may be in a better place today. Yet almost a year after the virus’ entry into the United States there is still no national mandate to wear masks on aircraft, in spite of International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association recommendations to do so. Similarly, no such federal requirements exist for passenger rail. Instead, individual U.S. companies and operators have had to make and enforce their own rules without federal government support.
We look forward to leadership returning to the Department of Transportation with the nomination of Pete Buttigieg. This nomination is good for transportation workers, passengers and the entire country.”