As unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers employed by our nation’s airlines, we are writing in support of the Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006 (S. 2201) and ask that you cosponsor this important legislation. S. 2201 was introduced by Senators Barack Obama, Patty Murray, Frank Lautenberg and Daniel Inouye in an effort to bring much-needed fairness and balance to a troubled bargaining process between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its employees.
As we know first hand, collective bargaining is never easy, but it is a process that ensures workers have a voice in the workplace and are in a position to work with their employers on key issues. However, for this process to truly work, it must be impartial and fair to both sides. Unfortunately, the bargaining position the FAA has taken in regards to its employees is undeniably biased. The FAA Administrator continues to take the position that the agency can simply send labor disputes to Congress and then unilaterally impose a contract on its employees. This is not true collective bargaining and, in fact, the FAA has shown little interest in reaching a negotiated settlement since it knows that it can simply impose its will as it sees fit. Not only is this unfair, but it would create acrimony and distrust among a workforce that is critical to the safe and efficient movement of aircraft.
The Obama bill would ensure a more level playing field by establishing a three step process of mediation, congressional review, and if there is true impasse, binding arbitration. Despite claims made by the FAA, S. 2201 is a measured and reasonable means of ensuring a productive and fair outcome of bargaining. At the end of the process, any outstanding disputes would simply be settled by an impartial arbitrator.
As unions whose members rely on the safety of our air traffic control system day in and day out, we understand the intrinsic value of our FAA colleagues who operate and maintain our airspace. They deserve a fair bargaining process.
The Obama bill is critical to protect the integrity of our air traffic control system and the safety of our nation’s airspace and aviation system. We urge you to support this common-sense legislation.
Air Line Pilots Association
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
General Vice President
International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers
International Federation of Professional
and Technical Engineers
|Michael O’ Brien
Transport Workers Union of America