FAA Poised To Make Final Offer to Controllers

 - November 21, 2006, 5:13 AM

With the latest deadline in the contract dispute between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) fast approaching, it seems increasingly unlikely that Congress will step into the fray. Both sides walked away from the bargaining table on April 5, with the FAA declaring an impasse. The agency submitted its final proposal along with Natca’s objections to Congress, which has 60 days to review the proposals. If Congress takes no action, the FAA can unilaterally put its final proposal into effect on June 5, it claims. Congress will return from a weeklong Memorial Day break that day. Natca claims that imposition of the contract will mean a pay cut, which could compel one in four controllers to retire upon reaching their eligibility date. But the FAA says that controllers eligible for retirement would lose more than $700 million in wages and pension payments by retiring immediately rather than working under a revised contract. Meanwhile, legislation has been introduced in the House that would require binding arbitration.