New president for controllers’ union

 - September 11, 2006, 9:56 AM

In the aftermath of the standoff between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) over a new contract, the union’s rank-and-file elected Cleveland en route center controller Pat Forrey president, ousting two-term president John Carr.

The FAA declared an impasse on April 5 after nine months of negotiations with the union that the agency claimed cost the taxpayers $2.3 million. As provided by federal law, the FAA then submitted its final proposal along with NATCA’s objections to Congress, which had 60 days to take action.

“The period for review has ended without modification of our proposal to Congress,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on June 5. “Therefore, under terms of our statute, the FAA’s proposed change takes effect as of today, and we will begin the process of implementing our proposal.”

According to the FAA, the average controller compensation package worth $165,900 today would grow to $187,000 over the life of the five-year contract. The agency said it plans to operate under the old contract as it phases in the new pact.

Forrey is an 18-year veteran at the Cleveland center and a two-term vice president of NATCA’s Great Lakes Region. Paul Rinaldi, a veteran controller at the Washington Dulles tower, was elected executive vice president.

After the election, the FAA congratulated Forrey and Rinaldi and “the rest of the NATCA leadership team. We look forward to working with Mr. Forrey in the months and years ahead. There are many challenges facing the aviation system, and we’re looking forward to a renewed spirit of professionalism, cooperation and mutual respect.”

Both the president and executive vice president serve as the national elected officials on natca’s national executive board. All elected officials on the board serve three-year terms, which began September 1.