June 28, 2007
On behalf of transportation labor, I urge you to support the Costello Amendment to restore fairness to the collective bargaining system that governs labor-management relations at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Last year, despite loud bipartisan protests from Congress, the FAA ignored its obligation to bargain fairly with its employees and chose to unilaterally impose terms and conditions on its air traffic controllers without their consent or ratification. The FAA is misusing a provision in law that was designed to implement initial personal reform, not to allow the agency to unilaterally impose its will in all subsequent contract negotiations. If this provision is not changed now, the agency will simply refuse to bargain in good faith with all of its unions, impose terms and conditions as it sees fit, and in the process put Congress in the middle of labor-management disputes. That is why last year 271 Members of the House voted to reject the agency’s conduct and to impose a fair and balanced system of bargaining, mediation and binding arbitration. The Costello Amendment accomplishes the same objective and will allow the air traffic controllers and the FAA to go back to the table.
At a time when the FAA and its employees face myriad challenges to update and modernize our air traffic control system, the FAA’s conduct has created a level of distrust between labor and management not seen at the agency in almost 20 years. And now, with low employee morale and much discontent throughout the workforce, the FAA’s unilateral imposition of draconian terms and conditions on the workers promises to accelerate an already high rate of controller and other employee retirements.
It is time to restore fairness to a bargaining system at the FAA that is badly broken. I urge you to support the Costello amendment during the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s mark-up of the FAA reauthorization legislation.