WASHINGTON, D.C. – Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement regarding the critically important role our nation’s air traffic controllers play in keeping the skies above the United States safe every day:
“Air traffic controllers are ultimate professionals who are on the front lines of keeping air travel safe in America. Although a few unfortunate incidents recently have attracted significant public attention, the real untold story is about the job that 15,000 air traffic controllers do to manage the world’s safest and most complicated air space system with 70,000 take-offs and landings daily. We urge policy leaders to learn from these recent events as unfortunate byproducts of an imperfect system that creates a chronically tired workforce.
“The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has led the effort to address controller fatigue and staffing issues with a single purpose: to eradicate safety risks that could harm the flying public and airline employees. In the past year NATCA has been working collaboratively with the FAA to specifically combat fatigue, a well-known and understood risk across the entire transportation industry.
“We applaud the actions of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. These Obama Administration leaders have both pledged to find solutions to these challenges – and they are doing so in coordination with NATCA as a vital partner.
“On behalf of all of our 32 member unions, TTD stands behind NATCA, the DOT and the FAA as they review ways to curb fatigue. We trust that the recommendations that are ultimately implemented and solutions that are found will be worthy efforts to maintain the outstanding safety record of air travel in America. We also hope that this effort will be ongoing, as far too many transportation employees still work in an environment where chronic fatigue goes unchecked.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.