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AFL-CIO President John Sweeney Statement on FAA Imposing Contract Terms on Air Traffic Controllers

The recent decision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to unilaterally impose contract terms on 1,900 members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association is an egregious assault on collective bargaining rights and a dangerously counter-productive move by an agency that is already failing to meet critical challenges to aviation safety.

FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey borrowed a page out of a union-busting handbook by choosing under-handed tactics of stonewall and delay instead of responsible collective bargaining. This was clearly demonstrated by the FAA’s rejection of all good-faith efforts by NATCA to reach a new contract. The FAA’s decision to impose contract terms on its employees is but one more example of a Bush administration that has taken a hostile view towards the collective bargaining rights of workers.

Americans have sadly come to expect this behavior out of anti-worker corporations like Wal-Mart. But our own government — which is supposed to serve the people — should set a much higher standard.

This flawed and reckless decision by the FAA is especially troubling at a time when the FAA is struggling to implement a massive technological modernization of the air traffic control system and also ensure the safety of a rapidly changing airline industry. This is no time for the agency to turn on its own workers. We cannot allow ideological crusades and political agendas to threaten the safety of the traveling public.

The entire labor movement stands with the embattled members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in this struggle and calls on the FAA Administrator to cease this scorched-earth approach to collective bargaining.

Contact Michael Buckley 202-974-8065

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