Controller’s Union Now Calls for Federal Mediation

 - January 8, 2007, 12:20 PM

Nearly three months after the union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s request for federal mediation to help reach a labor agreement, the union has changed its mind, saying it is “unhappy with the pace of the negotiations in the last two weeks.” When the FAA called for federal mediation last November, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) labeled it a “publicity stunt.” At that time, a NATCA spokesman told AIN, “We have been making substantial progress and are not even close to an impasse.” But now, NATCA has made an “official request” for a mediator when talks resume on March 6. The FAA’s contract proposal maintains the average base pay of current controllers ($166,000), which the agency said is a 74-percent increase since the 1998 contract. The agency said the union is proposing to raise average total compensation for all controllers above $200,000. Negotiations began more than seven months ago.