NATCA would like to share the latest story we’ve received of a newly hired air traffic controller electing to resign rather than continue to be lied to by the FAA. This controller, Dave Kremzar, also realized what many others have already concluded: Employment with the military is a more attractive option than the FAA. This letter also serves as proof that the line the FAA likes to use with the media regarding compensation for prospective controllers in training reaching $90,000 is, at best, highly misleading.
To: Barry Jeffries, IND ATM
From: Dave Kremzar
Date: July 30, 2007
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that effective Sunday, Aug. 4, 2007, I am resigning from my position as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration at the Indianapolis Airport Traffic Control Tower.
Unfortunately, this was not a difficult decision for me to make. During the short period of time that I have been employed, the Agency has done several things that contributed to my decision.
First, I was hired in under the terms of the 1998 NATCA/FAA Collective Bargaining Agreement. My initial offer of employment from the Agency promised pay raises at all points of progression within my training. The Agency has reneged on that promise.
Second, I was hired with the promise and prospect of an annual salary of approximately $90,000 upon FPL (Full Performance Level) certification. Under the terms of the imposed work rules, the Agency has also reneged on that promise and will offer compensation of approximately $60,000 upon FPL certification. I cannot overstate the importance of what I view as a $30,000 lie.
Third, employment within the Department of Defense (DoD) is now more attractive than employment within the FAA. I could stay at IND ATCT with the potential to earn $60,000 at an ATC-9 facility. The facility is a combined tower/tracon. The facility is a 24/7 facility that requires a multitude of shift assignments.
Alternatively, employment as an air traffic controller within the DoD is available within a comparable cost of living area. The position has Monday through Friday day shift only hours and is at a VFR tower. Annual compensation is also $60,000.
Ultimately, for the same compensation I can be employed as an air traffic controller at a facility that will contribute to a far higher quality of life for my family and me.
In closing, I find the situation that the Agency has placed itself in disturbing. I fear that I am not and will not be the only newly hired employee to reach these conclusions. The Agency’s imposed work rules, particularly in the area of pay, are having and will continue to have detrimental effects on the Agency’s ability to hire and retain qualified applicants.