Sunday, March 15, 2009

FAA History Lesson -- March 15 (09)

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Mar 15, 1981: The labor contract between FAA and PATCO expired. In accordance with Article 75 of the agreement, however, all its provisions but one (immunity under the aviation safety reporting program) remained in force until a new agreement was reached. (See Dec 15, 1980, and Apr 28, 1981.) “

If you’ve been paying attention, there is no comment needed from me. For those that haven’t been paying attention (or the newly hired), the history lesson continues.

From the FAA Historical Chronology Update -- 2008 (.pdf)...

” April 3, 2006: FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) exchanged their final contract proposals. April 6, FAA declared that, as it had reached an impasse with the controllers union after nine months of contract talks, only congressional action could prevent the agency from imposing its latest contract offer without union agreement. April 25, FAA officially ended contract negotiations with NATCA. June 5, FAA announced it would begin imposing its preferred contract terms on the controller work force. Under existing statutory rulings, the agency could impose its contract terms if Congress were to fail to overturn the agency's proposal within a 60-day window. FAA had sent its contract proposal to Congress in April and the deadline for congressional action was June 4. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said that, although the previous contract was officially terminated as of the previous day before, the work and pay rules of that contract would remain in effect while the new rules were phased in. She also commented in a letter to employees that this transition process could take several months. (See November 28, 2005; August 2007.) “

If you use FAA logic, NATCA members should probably be happy. At least this Administration didn’t fire all of them. Of course, you might see it the way controllers see it; the Government really ought to stop signing contracts they don’t intend to honor. If the contract says it will remain in force until a new one is negotiated (and it did), then it remains in force. But it didn’t. The new controllers need to file that piece of information away some place safe so they’ll remember it 20 years down the road.

Don Brown
March 15, 2009

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