Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fire Them ? All ?

I’m done with my Christmas shopping (well, almost) , my deadline and the flu so I can get back to blogging again. I even found time to read more of the Courier-Journal article I posted earlier. There’s some interesting -- and puzzling -- stuff in there. What has the controllers in an uproar is this quote from Congressman John Mica (R-FL), the outgoing chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation. (Let me stress “outgoing.”)

"There's a lot of contract politics being played here," Mica said. "I know they're not happy, but we're going work with them. I don't have the option President Reagan had to fire all of them."

The Congressman doesn’t have to work with me. I retired. Still, I have to wonder what brought on that statement. Anger ? Angst ? Fear ? Just having a bad day ? Or are controllers really just a bunch of dirty, rotten scoundrels ?

The Congressman is correct in that the controllers are not happy. They’re angry. Very angry. They’re as angry as I’ve ever seen them. And that has been since President Reagan fired “all of them.” Don’t you find it interesting that it’s an entirely different group ? Aren’t you just the least bit curious about that ? How do you take two entirely separate groups, 25 years apart and make them that angry ? Coincidence ? Fate ?

In addition, firing “all of them” doesn’t appear to have provided any solution. It seems to have bought 25 years of time but it didn’t solve anything. Why ?

I can supply my answers to these questions but it wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful as the answers you can provide yourself -- with a little information and a little thinking. Much of what you need to know about the current situation is contained in another quote in another section of the article.

Randall Dailey is the local representative of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Lexington, KY. If you’ll remember, a Comair jet crashed while taking off there in August of this year. Mr. Dailey doesn’t have to worry (too much) about some government official trying to “fire” him because his freedom of speech as a union representative is protected by law. Other FAA employees don’t enjoy that same right. The article quotes Mr. Dailey as saying,

“ Overtime at Lexington has ballooned from a total of 32 hours of overtime in the year before the crash to 1,100 hours since the crash.”

That simple statement of fact has more truth behind it than any outsider can ever know.

Don Brown
December 21, 2006

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