The FAA and its largest union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), have crafted a tentative new collective bargaining agreement aimed at covering ATC specialists assigned to terminal, en route, and flight service options; traffic management coordinators; and NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) specialists. The current agreement was put in place in 2009, and renewed in 2012.
This new agreement comes fairly quickly after the bargaining process started earlier this year in January, and was aided by strong interest from both parties.
“It reflects the strong collaborative relationship that FAA and NATCA have established over the past seven years,” officials said in a prepared statement. The next step is for NATCA to send the agreement to its members for a vote, a step they hope to have completed by mid-July.
“Together, NATCA and the FAA have continued to work successfully on safety and modernization, labor relations, professional standards, training, and many other important issues,” said FAA COO Teri Bristol. “These interest-based negotiations have reflected that same commitment to successful collaboration.”
“This agreement was achieved through a collaborative process, building upon our successful working relationships at all levels of the FAA and NATCA,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “This agreement recognizes the vital role that NATCA members play in meeting the FAA’s mission to ensure that the United States airspace is the safest and most efficient system in the world.”
At the same time, the US Senate is urging the House to move forward on a comprehensive FAA authorization bill, minus an ATC proposal. The current feeling is that the effort to create a user-funded independent ATC organization isn’t likely to find support at this time.
“With only six weeks remaining on the legislative calendar before funding for the FAA is set to expire, we urge you to move this bill or a similar companion measure forward in the House of Representatives as quickly as possible,” senators said in a letter sent to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman.
They also noted the work already done in the House on the FAA reauthorization bill, including regarding the creation of an independent ATC organization. “We understand the commitment to this proposal, but the Senate is far from reaching a consensus on this issue. Thus, we believe expeditious House passage of the Senate bill or a similar measure provides the only viable opportunity this year to deliver a bill to the President.…Time is of the essence.”
Featured Image: NATCA