FAA Unions Speak Out Against ATC Privatization

 - April 23, 2015, 11:29 AM

The leaders of seven different FAA unions appealed to House lawmakers to reject efforts to privatize the agency’s air traffic control functions. In an April 22 letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the union leaders agreed that the most significant issue facing the agency is lack of a stable funding stream. But, “we do not agree that a massive change to the FAA’s structure is the solution to the funding problem,” they said.

The letter comes two days after National Air Traffic Controllers Association president Paul Rinaldi called upon Washington leaders to ensure a stable funding stream for the agency. But unlike his other FAA union counterparts, Rinaldi was cautiously open to other nonprofit ATC structures. Likewise, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta testified this month that the agency would be open to such concepts as long as the FAA’s safety oversight mission is not compromised.

The other union leaders, however, said, “We do not believe that the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) should be separated…because the ATO is inextricably intertwined with the agency’s other functional divisions. The FAA must remain one cohesive unit.” They added they would be against both a for-profit and not-for-profit separate organization. The letters were signed by the heads of the American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Laborers’ International Union of North America, National Association of Government Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees, Professional Association of Aeronautical Center Employees, and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists.