Member Spotlight: Lyle Burrington, Northwest Mountain Region
Friday, February 24, 2012
This is the sixth in a series of articles spotlighting veteran NATCA members looking back at the first 25 years of the union leading up to the June 19, 2012, silver anniversary of NATCA's Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) certification. We'll profile one member each month from each of the 10 regions, in addition to also remembering key events that have helped shape the union and its growth as a strong advocate for its members and aviation safety.
Pictured left to right: Son Curt, Son Justin, Wife Anita and Lyle Burrington
April 2014. That is when Denver Center President (ZDV) Lyle Burrington is eligible to retire from the air traffic control profession, but he hasn’t considered that date an option.
“I like controlling traffic and working for the union, and I’m going to do it until I can’t do it anymore,” said Burrington.
Burrington, like many of his NATCA brothers and sisters, is extremely passionate about his profession and doesn’t want to consider leaving it. Burrington noted that his ability and training allows him to truly enjoy his profession, but his experience as a member of NATCA has enhanced that enjoyment greatly.
Burrington was hired by the FAA in July 1989 and joined NATCA later that year. He started work at Seattle Center (ZSE) and in 1992 transferred to Albuquerque Center (ZAB). At ZAB, Burrington discovered he wanted to help his colleagues have a say in day-to-day matters and working conditions, so he took his first NATCA leadership position as Area Representative in 1994. In 2001, Burrington transferred to ZDV to be closer to his family in Montana. He became ZDV Area Representative in 2002 and was elected ZDV President in 2006. He has also been a member of the Northwest Mountain Region Labor Management Relations Committee since 2009.
As a long-time Northwest Region controller, Burrington has found that his region doesn’t have unique issues. This allows its members to fight that much harder for NATCA’s collective goals, which has paid off.
Just last Tuesday, Feb. 14, President Obama signed into law the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, a huge victory for NATCA in part because of a critical provision that restores a fair collective bargaining process for the FAA’s bargaining units.
The passage of that important bill reminded Burrington just how grateful he is for NATCA. He explained that he wouldn’t have the successful career he now has if he wasn’t a part of NATCA.
“NATCA means a lot of things [to me],” said Burrington. “But the main thing is it’s a great group of people who use their collective voice to improve our pay and our working conditions.”
Burrington has benefitted from NATCA in more than a professional way and the “great group of people” he mentioned are much more than colleagues.
“I meet a lot of people when I travel for union functions and I consider them to be friends,” Burrington said.
Having held several different leadership positions in NATCA, Burrington finds the most gratifying part of his role is when he helps one of his NATCA family members solve a problem or conquer a challenge at work. He hopes the younger members of NATCA will step into similar leadership positions and get the same gratification.
“Our union is only as strong as the people in it,” he said.
Burrington's son Justin began his career in air traffic control at ZDV during the fall of 2011. Burrington plans to work alongside his son until he decides to retire from NATCA.