Flight attendants' union leader says relief must go directly to workers

Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, said in a Thursday interview with Hill.TV that coronavirus relief passed by Congress must go directly to workers impacted by the pandemic as opposed to being leveraged by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: BIO's Michelle McMurry-Heath says 400 projects started in 16 weeks in biotech firms to fight virus, pandemic unemployment total tops 43 million IRS faces obstacles with remaining stimulus checks On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility MORE.

Nelson said Mnuchin was seeking to add warrants to the grants in the relief package passed by Congress in March, which she had said on Twitter would mean Mnuchin would “effectively control aviation.” It would “turn the grant into a loan,” she added in the Thursday interview.

“A grant of money directly to the workers, for the workers, to give us financial stability at this time, to give us the ability to take care of the sick and vulnerable, is at risk because the Treasury secretary has the ability and has been saying that he is going to use this instrument against the airlines, which will make it too onerous to take, and if that happens, the only option for the airlines is to file for bankruptcy,” she said.

“The people that Steve Mnuchin has called in to help him with this application process are investment bankers from Wall Street, and he is sending the signal that these are the people who every single day bet on people failing on Wall Street… that’s who he has in his office right now and he’s putting the airlines through an incredibly onerous application process to make this provision not work,” Nelson added.

Nelson accused Mnuchin of using the provision to slow the application process, adding that there were elements in the Trump administration seeking to “make money off of chaos and people hurting.”