Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said Thursday that any federal aid package for the airline industry should focus on providing economic relief to employees instead of bailing out the companies.
"Let's be really clear, there just can't be a bailout. We've done that before, it doesn't work," Nelson told Hill.TV.
She said airline workers need to be able to keep their jobs so they can continue to have access to benefits like health insurance and paid sick leave.
Nelson acknowledged that loans from the government would be needed to keep the industry from going under, but argued that assistance should come with caveats.
"With those loans come strings attached," she said. "No more stock buybacks, no executive bonuses, no dividends. This is not going to be a bailout for Wall Street, this is going to be a relief package for workers."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) signaled Thursday that Senate Republicans were finalizing the details on a third coronavirus bill.
"It is critical that we move swiftly and boldly to begin to stabilize our economy, preserve Americans' jobs, get money to workers and families and keep up our fight on the health front. That is exactly, exactly what our proposal will do," McConnell said from the Senate floor.
The GOP bill is said to include loans for "industries of national importance," including airlines.
As the pandemic spreads, airlines have made historic cutbacks in flights, leading to huge revenue losses.