This Week in NATCA/Labor History
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
THIS WEEK IN NATCA/ATC/AVIATION HISTORY:
January 28, 1982 — Equipment modernization: The FAA announces the National Airspace System Plan. The 450-page document outlines a 20-year blueprint for upgrading the system. Key elements include:
- Replacing the aging and unreliable IBM 9020 mainframe computers and developing “sector suites” at the en route centers.
- Consolidating facilities.
- Implementing Mode S transponders, which ultimately will enable e-mail communications between controllers and pilots, and Doppler weather radar.
- Installing 1,250 microwave landing system sites by the end of the century.
January 26-29, 1988 — Second NATCA biennial convention: Nearly 300 delegates attend the meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. Major issues adopted include:
- Rebating 10 percent of dues to locals.
- Requiring a majority vote of the membership to impose special assessments.
- Establishing annual dues of $35 for retirees, $50 for individual associates and $250 for corporate associates.
- Requiring the National Executive Board to meet at least twice annually and send meeting minutes to all facility reps within two weeks.
- Requiring an annual financial audit, report and budget approval process.
- Establishing Constitution, Finance and Safety committees, composed of one member from each region.
- Defining an “active” member as a controller who has been certified in the preceding two years or a developmental in a training program.
- Limiting the right to vote or hold office to “active” members.
- Awarding the union’s first honorary lifetime membership to John Thornton.
January 25, 1990 — Air safety issue: An Avianca 707 crashes in Cove Neck on Long Island, N.Y., after running out of fuel while waiting to land at Kennedy International Airport. The accident kills 73 of the 158 people onboard the plane. One month later, demonstrators drive a procession of vehicles through Kennedy to highlight their contention that controllers mishandled the flight. Subsequently, the NTSB cites the flight crew’s failure to manage the plane’s fuel load and notify controllers of their situation by declaring an emergency. However, the board also notes that inadequate traffic flow management and a lack of standardized terminology for fuel emergencies contributed to the accident.
THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY:
1890: United Mine Workers of America founded in Columbus, Ohio. The union’s constitution barred racial, religious and ethnic discrimination.
1915: The Supreme Court upholds “Yellow Dog” employment contracts, which forbid membership in labor unions. Yellow Dog contracts remained legal until 1932.
1952: Federal minimum wage increases to 75¢ an hour.
2009: A handful of American companies announce nearly 60,000 layoffs on Jan. 26, as the recession that began during the George W. Bush presidency charges full-tilt toward what has become known as the Great Recession.
2009: Newly-elected President Barack Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Jan. 29, making it easier for women and minorities to win pay discrimination suits.