FAA Unions Form Coalition

 - May 9, 2008, 7:12 AM

The unions representing nearly 20,000 employees of the FAA have joined in a coalition “to hold the FAA accountable” for meeting its modernization goals and to improve working conditions at the agency. The coalition represents the largest group of organized employees at the FAA.

“There are many challenges that the 21st century will bring to the FAA,” said Michael Fanfalone, president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS). “The employees we represent are the ones ensuring aviation safety. Through this united front, we will hold the FAA accountable for modernization and improving the public trust.”

The alliance said it will also work to prepare its members for the many changes to FAA jobs imposed by technological advances and modernization.
“We are taking a coordinated and collaborative approach to resolving issues through this alliance,” Fanfalone said. “All FAA employees reap the rewards of a stronger, united front at the agency.”

PASS represents more than 11,000 employees of the FAA and Defense Department who install, maintain, support and certify ATC and national defense equipment; inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries; develop flight procedures; and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems.

The chartered Aviation Labor Coalition includes the National Association of Air Traffic Control Specialists, the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the Laborers International Union of North America, the Professional Association of Aeronautical Center Employees and the National Association of Government Employees.

The largest single union at the FAA is the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), which has nearly 14,000 members and represents nearly 19,000 controllers, engineers and other FAA employees.

Early last month, Natca marked the 20th anniversary of the Aug. 3, 1981, strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Patco), which prompted President Ronald Reagan to fire 11,345 controllers 48 hr later.

“The Patco strike was a watershed event in labor history,” Natca president John Carr said. “From those ashes, we have built a relationship with the FAA based on trust, honor and integrity and we are doing our best within the limitations of collective bargaining in the federal sector to co-manage the National Airspace System.”

He added that Natca has achieved success “by working hard to build collaborative relationships with the FAA, Congress, aircraft owners, pilots, business aviation, airports and many others” in the aviation community. “We are an acknowledged leader in our field and are working hard to find and propose solutions to the problems currently plaguing the air travel system,” said Carr.

Addressing the possibility of a shortage of controllers in the near future, Carr maintained that one option is to continue hiring back fired Patco controllers. More than 800 have been brought back since President Clinton’s executive order in 1993 lifted the ban on such rehires.