NATCA Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Executive Order 10988
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pictured above: Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis

This Wednesday NATCA celebrated the 50th anniversary of a key achievement in the labor union movement. On Jan. 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988, granting federal workers collective bargaining rights.

By signing this executive order, President Kennedy recognized the importance of federal employees, such as air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals, to bargain with management. It also established, for the first time, a government-wide labor relations policy.

“This landmark executive order laid the groundwork for our ability to collaborate with the FAA and make the National Airspace System the safest and most efficient in the world,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi.

Executive Order 10988 not only permitted workers to join and engage in union activity, but also set the stage for expanding collective bargaining rights under future presidents.
From safety reporting to professional standards, the relationship between NATCA and the FAA continues to improve because of present day collective bargaining rights put into motion by this executive order.

“NATCA’s tremendous progress on its initiatives through collaboration with President Obama's Administration, the FAA and the aviation community, would not have been possible without President Kennedy’s vision of a federal sector workforce with collective bargaining rights,” said NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert.

On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO held a reception at its headquarters to honor Executive Order 10988’s 50th anniversary. Members of national and international labor unions were invited to attend along with members of President Obama’s Administration, including Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis who spoke at the reception.

“Today, as Secretary of Labor, it is my honor and privilege to celebrate all of our federal workers and to celebrate the history of bipartisanship,” said Secretary Solis. “From Kennedy to even Nixon, to Ford and to Jimmy Carter, who gave [federal workers] a voice on the job.”

President Obama could not attend the reception, but sent his remarks. He wrote that his Administration recognizes federal employee participation greatly contributes to effective conduct of public business. In addition, President Obama wrote his Administration has taken steps to continue the five-decade tradition of expanding federal employee collective bargaining rights by signing Executive Order 13522. Executive Order 13522 establishes a non-adversarial forum for federal employees, managers and union representatives to discuss government operations.

“On this anniversary, we honor federal employees and labor management representatives who are dedicated to public service for our nation,” remarked President Obama. “As we mark this special occasion, I wish you all the best.”

Left to right: Jose Ceballos, NATCA Government Affairs Director; Matthew Biggs, IFPTE Legislative and Political Director; George Duncan, IFPTE Local 1921 - GAO; and Lise Levie, Vice President, IFPTE Local 1921- GAO.

Left to right: Jose Ceballos, NATCA Government Affairs Director; George Duncan, International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 1921 - GAO; Lise Levie, Vice President, IFPTE Local 1921- GAO; and Gregory Junemann, IFPTE International President.