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Bush Administration Errors Again in Leaving Mac Labor Seat Cold - (10/25/2004)

WASHINGTON – In a stinging, backhanded slap to the face of transportation labor just eight days before the presidential election, the Bush Administration has appointed three new members to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council (MAC) while once again deliberately leaving the seat for a union representative vacant.

The council advises the FAA on policy, budget and regulations. It was established by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996 and consists of 18 members who serve three-year terms. The president appoints 10 members and five more are appointed by the transportation secretary. According to a FAA press release on Sept. 19, 2000, the MAC also includes “one designee each from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense and an air traffic services union.”

The labor representative is also appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a three-year term as long as they remain a leader of their respective union. Subsequent appointments will be made by the Secretary of Transportation.

But the labor seat has never been filled, an abomination which National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr blamed on “politics and a disdain for the workers who keep our air traffic system the safest and best in the world.”

“It’s outrageous, but certainly not all that shocking to watch as the Bush Administration again thumbs its nose at transportation labor and works to deny us our rightful seat at a most important table that is tasked with making sure the FAA fulfills its mission of providing a safe and efficient air traffic system,” Carr said. “I call on the administration to provide a reason why the labor seat is again sitting cold and idle while they work to put fresh faces on the MAC from all other segments of the aviation world.”

Added Carr: “Given the important tasks and challenges facing the aviation industry and the MAC, NATCA believes that it is imperative that labor be represented on the MAC before any further business is conducted.”

In January, 2001, Carr submitted his name to the White House and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta requesting that he be nominated to serve as the labor representative to the MAC. Carr had personal conversations with both Secretary Mineta and the former FAA administrator on the matter, sent letters and testified before the Congressional aviation authorizing and appropriation committees asking for their support of his candidacy. Numerous members of Congress contacted the Administration on his behalf.

“NATCA is the logical choice to represent the unions of air traffic control system employees. But at this point, I’d just like to see the seat filled, if not by NATCA then with another labor representative,” Carr concluded. “Organized labor must be on the MAC.”

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