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Statement by NATCA President John Carr on House Vote in Favor of Fairness in Collective Bargaining - (6/8/2006)

CONTACT: Doug Church, 301/346.8245; Sam Hiersteiner, 202/337.0808

– National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr released the following statement concerning Wednesday evening’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the issue of fairness in collective bargaining with the Federal Aviation Administration: 

“A clear majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has voted in favor of fairness and air safety, and NATCA salutes the distinguished Members of the House, led by Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., and Rep. Sue Kelly, R-N.Y., who have sent a clear message to the FAA: Get back to the negotiating table to make a deal in the interests of taxpayers and the flying public. Unfortunately, the FAA continues to ignore these mounting calls, forcing us to continue this battle. 

“Make no mistake: Yesterday's vote was a great achievement and represents another step towards the much needed resolution of this issue. Despite tremendous political pressure and an intense misinformation campaign from the White House, the FAA and DOT, 271 members voted in favor of HR 5449 - 65 percent of all those members voting.  This undeniable sign of support will further energize our legislative efforts as we pursue the numerous options still available to us. 

“Let us remember what is at stake here. As Rep. LaTourette said last night, we are facing a ‘mass exodus of skilled air traffic controllers’ if the FAA's contract is allowed to pass. This challenge is real - financial disincentives in the FAA’s contract could cause one in four, or about 4,000, veteran controllers to retire. This would have a domino effect on everything from employee recruitment to delays to safety across the US aviation system. 

“As Rep. LaTourette also said, the fact that the FAA attempted to impose the contract on the eve of the House vote on the issue was a direct ‘snub’ to Congress.  Now, the FAA's refusal to even acknowledge that 65 percent of the House voted to send the agency back to the table further confirms their disregard for a fair and accountable process and reinforces the need to change this process permanently. 

“As long as the safety and integrity of the air traffic control system is in danger, we will continue to pursue legislative relief.  We remain encouraged by the expressions of support from both sides of the aisle and in both Houses and we are confident that additional legislative avenues remain open.  We're looking forward to pursuing all remaining avenues aggressively.”

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