This Week in NATCA/Labor History
Tuesday, March 15, 2011


March 15, 1981 — PATCO contract expires:
The three-year labor agreement between the union and the FAA lapses. All provisions remain in force until a new agreement is negotiated, except immunity under NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. This program, which was unilaterally canceled by former FAA Administrator Langhorne M. Bond in 1980, enabled controllers and pilots to report mistakes without the risk of penalty in an attempt to solve common problems.

March 1998 — Contract towers: The U.S. District Court vacates its decision from 1994 allowing the FAA to contract out Level I towers. The FAA does not appeal this decision and, subsequently, NATCA seeks a court order requiring the agency to dismantle its contract program. Although the court denies the union’s motion, it orders the agency to determine whether ATC services are “inherently governmental” or a “commercial activity,” in which case they can be contracted out.


March 15, 1917:
Supreme Court approves 8-Hour Act under threat of a national railway strike.

March 16, 1960: The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is formed in New York, to represent New York City public school teachers and, later, other education workers in the city.

March 17, 2000: Boeing Co. and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) come to terms on a new contract, settling the largest white-collar walkout in U.S. history. SPEEA represented some 22,000 workers, of whom 19,000 honored picket lines for 40 days.