Today, the Teamsters are applauding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its proposed rule to mandate that mechanics at aircraft maintenance facilities in foreign countries be subject to the same drug and alcohol screening as safety-sensitive aircraft mechanics in the United States. The long-awaited rule follows two separate congressional mandates, the last passed in 2016.

“This is a critical step forward in ending our two-tiered aviation safety system, whereby mechanics in countries like China, El Salvador, Brazil, and Singapore don’t have to abide by the same rules as American aircraft technicians, who are among the most talented and knowledgeable in the world,” said Joe Ferreira, Teamsters Airline Division Director. “There’s a huge segment of the flying public that doesn’t know that the airplane they are flying on might be repaired by someone who isn’t subject to the same substance abuse screening as a technician in this country. When passengers find out about this, they are usually outraged and horrified.”

The FAA estimates the proposed rule will affect over 900 foreign repair stations throughout the globe, where U.S. airlines, small and large, are sending maintenance work today without any oversight over drug and alcohol use by the employees of these facilities.

“This will go a long way towards onshoring aviation maintenance jobs by ending an economic incentive that puts the flying public at risk,” said Bob Fisher, Teamsters Airline Division Deputy Director. “We will continue to oppose the outsourcing of the work in our craft and demand additional regulatory and statutory requirements to ensure airlines can't cut corners to save money overseas. We look forward to providing the FAA with our insights during the rulemaking process, and to the expeditious implementation of the mandate once it’s finalized.”