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Mediation of FAA-NATCA Contract Dispute Begins - (5/19/2009)

WASHINGTON – Mediation aimed at ending an ongoing contract dispute between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) began yesterday.

Both parties signed a process agreement to move the negotiations forward as planned. The agreement provides for extensive mediation sessions and for binding resolution of any unresolved issues, guaranteeing a new collective bargaining agreement between the parties.

“One of my highest priorities, since coming to DOT, has been to resolve this issue so that we can move forward to make our commercial aviation system even better than it already is,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a recent announcement that Jane Garvey, former FAA Administrator, would lead the mediation team.

Garvey will lead the mediation as part of a three-member panel that will also include Mediators Richard Bloch and George Cohen, who have extensive experience in mediating high profile disputes.

It is expected that the expedited mediation process will continue through early June. At the request of the mediators, and as is customary with all mediation processes, the details will remain confidential until the process reaches its conclusion, although the mediators will release updates to the parties during the process.

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