FAA Wins a Battle, Loses Another

 - August 27, 2007, 10:47 AM

The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) has dismissed all of natca’s charges of unfair labor practices related to the negotiation and implementation of the 2006 air traffic controllers contract. The authority also dismissed unfair labor practice charges that the FAA filed against the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (pass).

In charges lodged in April, July and September 2006, natca alleged that the FAA unlawfully submitted the contract bargaining impasse with natca to Congress and engaged in a pattern and practice of bad-faith negotiations.

FLRA determined that there was no merit to the union’s charge that the FAA failed to bargain under the auspices of the Federal Services Impasses Panel and implemented the 2006 contract before the completion of bargaining.

“This decision validates our new contract, which is saving taxpayers $1.9 billion over five years and providing the resources we need to invest in twenty-first-century air traffic systems,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.

The FLRA’s decision affirms that the FAA followed the process enacted by Congress for resolving bargaining impasses over changes to the agency’s personnel system, the FAA said.

Pass said that after months of unsuccessful contract negotiations, it accepted the FAA’s proposal in March 2006 but made it clear that it would not support the tentative agreement during the ratification process.

While 98 percent of pass members voted not to ratify the tentative agreement, the FAA pursued its unfair labor practice case. Last month, the FLRA judge dismissed the case, ruling that pass did not fail to bargain in good faith.

“We are pleased with the FLRA’s decision and feel justified with the way we responded to the FAA’s strong-arm tactics at the negotiating table,” said pass president Tom Brantley. “Now that the judge has validated pass’s position, we look forward to returning to the negotiating table with the FAA and are hopeful that we can reach a mutually agreeable contract.”