A U.S. District Court judge yesterday denied the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) request for a temporary restraining order against the U.S. government, a move that for now continues the status quo of the government shutdown requiring air traffic controllers to work without knowing when their next paycheck will arrive. Judge Richard J. Leon, for the District of Columbia, however, did schedule an expedited briefing on NATCA’s motion for a preliminary injunction. That briefing will be held January 31.
NATCA filed the lawsuit last week, alleging violation of the Fifth Amendment for unlawfully ceasing wages without due process and for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay at least the minimum wage to controllers who are working during the shutdown. The NATCA lawsuit was heard alongside a similar complaint filed by the National Treasury Employees Union.
“Although we are disappointed with the judge’s ruling denying NATCA’s motion for a temporary restraining order, we are encouraged that he acknowledged the ongoing hardships our members are facing because of the shutdown,” said NATCA executive v-p Trish Gilbert.
The lawsuit is part of a multi-pronged effort by NATCA to put pressure on Washington leaders to end the shutdown. NATCA also held a rally last week and is distributing leaflets at key airports.