Controllers Union Gains Bargaining Unit

 - October 9, 2008, 10:04 AM

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) has officially added 150 ATC specialists assigned to the flight service option at Automated Flight Service Stations, Flight Service Stations and Flight Service Data Processing Systems sites located in Alaska and at the “weather unit” of the Air Traffic Control System Command Center near Dulles International Airport.

In the past, the employees were represented by the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), which at one time represented a national unit of more than 2,000 air traffic controllers. In 2005 that number dwindled to 150, when the FAA contracted their work out to Lockheed Martin.

NAATS leaders petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) late last year requesting a change in affiliation from NAATS to Natca for the employees they represented. NAATS conducted an election and 95 percent of ballots cast voted to change the exclusive representative to Natca. The FLRA’s San Francisco regional director issued a decision and order granting the petition effective 60 days after June 20, 2008.

“I did not want what happened to flight service in the lower 48 to happen to us,” said NAATS president Alan Baker. “I know that we are few in number, we had lost much of our ability to fight back and were vulnerable. I feel for myself, and for our people, better off as a Natca member than as the NAATS president.”

Natca is the exclusive representative of more than 14,000 air traffic controllers and controller trainees working at the FAA, Department of Defense and in the private sector. In addition, Natca represents approximately 1,200 FAA engineers, 600 traffic management coordinators, 500 aircraft certification professionals, agency operational support staff, regional personnel from the FAA’s logistics, budget, finance and computer specialist divisions, and agency occupational health specialists, nurses and medical program specialists.