Steve Weidner:             Brothers and sisters, please help me welcome our President, Paul Rinaldi, and our Executive Vice President, Trish Gilbert.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Good morning.

Audience:                     Good morning.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Thank you for being here. NATCA in Washington, as Steve said, this could be considered our fourth NATCA in Washington. It's been a busy year. I did see there was a bunch of green badges, so anyone who is a first timer, can you please stand up?

Paul Rinaldi:                  Thank you. Thanks for being here. Thanks for taking the leap into NATCA in Washington and the legislative world. It is a very important conference, and you will start today and this week to build relationships with our elected officials. And it doesn't matter if they're the chairman of the Freedom Caucus or the extreme left. We don't care if you're an R or a D, we care that you're an N, you're NATCA, and build that relationship. And there are so many veterans here and they'll be able to show you the difference and the way to build these relationships. So just grab onto their coattails, or their tie, or their dress and watch them go because they are truly professionals at building relationships. And thanks to everybody here for believing in NATCA, and our legislative process, and donating your very precious annual leave and your talents for this great union.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Welcome to DC. As advertised in May, it is going to be a scorcher, a high humidity, high heat and possibly some thunderstorms, but we will plow through that and once again make this conference the best it could possibly be. And once again, as in every NATCA in Washington, we have vital issues in front of us. I don't think there's anybody in this room today that thinks a stable, predictable funding was something made up just to cause an issue or just to have something to talk about. It is real and it continues to be real. And as leaders, we led into this issue. We leaned forward, not away, leaned forward to try to find a fix before that happened, that 35 day shutdown. And unfortunately it looks like, if you're reading the tea leaves here in Washington DC, they're not getting along any better. They're talking about impeachment, tax returns, they're fighting on both sides of the aisle, and at the end of the day, we're looking at October 1 as a possible problem.

Trish Gilbert:                 So I'm going to take you back a little bit in time, not too far, but about 2013, certainly we can start from there, there was already discussion about uncertainty in government. Bills weren't getting passed on time, appropriations bills weren't in place by October 1, reauthorization, we had just seen 23 extensions of the FAA reauthorization bill that allowed the FAA to impose a contract on us and pay cuts and pay freezes. But that was finally signed in February of 2012. It was a four year bill, expires in 2016. Fast forward, we thought, "Okay, we got some stability with FAA reauthorization." However, appropriations was still a problem. The annual funding was not occurring annually. So fast forward to 2013, things were getting held up for things not germane to aviation, health care, immigration, guns, all kinds of different things, very important to a lot of people in this country, but not germane to aviation.

Trish Gilbert:                 But we were already seeing that we were going to be held hostage to a lot of this debate. So in 2013, right before 2013, members of Congress decided they'd create the Budget Control Act, sequestration, which would be so harmful to government that there was no chance it would be passed and signed into law. That's how harmful it was. But lo and behold, they did not let us down. They passed that horrible piece of legislation and put in place sequestration. So in the spring of 2013, as we were trying to work with the agency as they're really, really digging into their budgets and knowing that they have to cut across every budget line without regard to the importance or significance of that particular budget line. So they cut equally across all four budgets of the FAA. And one of the biggest or the biggest budget is the operations budget, which 75% of it is salaries and a PC&B.

Trish Gilbert:                 So surprisingly enough, part of their way to save money in 2013 was to furlough every employee in the FAA and DOD, and we represent DOD controllers as well, not all of them, but some of them, was to furlough them again, one day pay period to save money. In addition to that, they were poised to shut down 238 air traffic control towers, contract towers, and FAA towers to save money. We fought that back very aggressively. Within a week we were able to get members of Congress to pass the Reducing Delays Act because we saw three times as many delays that one week of furloughs in the FAA than we'd seen the previous year. So inside a week, we passed the Reducing Delays Act, which allowed the administrator to move $243 million out of the airports budget into the operations budget, which allowed us to stop the furloughs in the FAA.

Trish Gilbert:                 We weren't able to be successful with DOD. They saw all 11 of their furlough days. But our workforce in the FAA that we represent and those that we don't represent and we did get some thanks from those that we don't represent as well, were able to continue to go to work without seeing those furloughs for the rest of the fiscal year. So we were able to a deal with sequestration that first year. It was the law of the land. The problem is it's a 10 year bill and it is still the law of the land. And even though, they've come to agreement to lift those budget caps the last several years, they have to do that again this year before October 1. Otherwise, we see those cuts come back and then we have to deal with what does that look like inside the FAA.

Trish Gilbert:                 But also back in 2013, we didn't get too many months into, out of that Reducing Delays Act and our furloughs ceasing and our towers not closing, before we saw a 16 day government shutdown. That was because they couldn't get a bill passed because it was filibustered in the Senate and the filibuster was based on defunding the Affordable Care Act. It had been in place for two years, but my senator who is now chairman of the committee of jurisdiction in the Senate, Senator Ted Cruz, filibustered that bill to defund the Affordable Care Act, which put us into a 16-day shutdown.

Trish Gilbert:                 It was painful as well. It wasn't as painful as the one that was twice as long that we just went through. However, we were poised right at the end when they opened up to government to get the first zero paycheck. The first paycheck that we got in that shutdown, we saw half a paycheck. So you could imagine when you get half a paycheck and everything gets paid, your taxes, your dues, your healthcare, and then whatever's left is what you get. It was also quite, quite painful. But we got through it. So 2013, it was very clear that there was a funding issue. It wasn't about the amount of money that gets written into appropriations bills. We've been very, very successful because we have a very talented team at NATCA that is on the hill all the time, our government affairs department, and certainly our army of legislative activists that ensure that when those appropriations bills are written for FAA and other agencies that we care about, that they are appropriately targeting areas and fund places we need them to fund.

Trish Gilbert:                 Unfortunately, those bills aren't becoming law. Those bills are subjected to the bitter fighting that is occurring between the parties and the house of the Senate and held up for things, again, not germane to aviation. So what we decided to do is play a little bit more offense than defense because what we saw, the table was being very clearly laid, funding was an issue, the Agency was starting to suffer, we're seeing a lack of hiring in all of 2013. We still haven't made up for not being able to pull people through the Academy during that entire year, equipment was getting worse, technology wasn't being deployed, our facilities, as you all know, aren't state of the art, and are aging, and we have an infrastructure problem. That was seen back then.

Trish Gilbert:                 So you can imagine when we got a new chairman in 2013, chairman, Shuster, Republican from Pennsylvania, we were very nervous because they were already looking to writing the next FAA re-authorization bill. Certainly when you write an FAA reauthorization bill, which is a multi-year bill, and a Republican that at the time you don't know very well, we had local relationships with, we were concerned what bold and transformational meant, when he was saying that in his speeches. So we built that strong relationship with him. He came to us and said, "I want to do something different." At the same time, they're looking north at Nav Canada. This is what everybody sees as a better staffed air traffic control system and better technology, not as busy as we are, but they look at that as, is there a different way to do it? Is there a way to fund our system differently? Is there a way to structure our system differently?

Trish Gilbert:                 So when that Republican's chairman said, "I'm going to do something bold and transformational and invite you in to protect the workforce, to help draft that legislation." You look at that fork in the road and you say, "Okay, we can say no and just try and kill anything that is drafted or we can say yes, go in there, and craft the legislation as best we can in order to protect the things that we need to protect." Which by the way, is a great deal of things. It's a number of things. It's our pensions, it's our collective bargaining rights, it's our ability to exist as a union, it’s the rules with which we negotiate changes by a new structure, a new employer, if that's the case. Not knowing what the legislation was going to eventually come out to be, we were very concerned that the written language was clear and concise and could not be used against us.

Trish Gilbert:                 We had already seen one paragraph, actually one sentence in one paragraph, of a previous FAA reauthorization bill, the one of 1996 that allowed them to impose the White Book on us, which included pay freezes, and pay cuts, and a number of other really, really harmful provisions. So we were really concerned about a poorly drafted piece of legislation, even if it was meant to protect us. And to show an example of that, the ranking member at the time, who's now the chairman, Peter DeFazio, and his staff were looking to keep us in government and draft us as a quasi-government or a government corporation similar to the post office in Amtrak.

Trish Gilbert:                 So you can imagine that also was very concerning, even if we remain in government less that we have to codify in a draft piece of legislation that might become law, but still enough that we had to pay close attention to the words on the paper. So we worked with both, the Republicans and the Democrats in the House of Representatives, during that time to ensure that we were able to protect ourselves, if by chance either one of those pieces of legislation became law. You probably saw what happened over the course of the next several years. There was different iterations of what those decision makers thought could solve the problem around funding.

Trish Gilbert:                 At the same time, we still had appropriations problems. But here we are today in a different place. Unfortunately, we did see that 35 day shutdown, but while that was painful and not good for our system, I think it put some of the decisionmakers in a different place today than where they were back then on what some of the resolutions might be, at least with regard to funding just by itself and a possible fix in the event of a shutdown. It doesn't fix the fighting between the parties, it doesn't fix the shutdowns that will occur, but HR 1108 would allow us to continue to do business as normal in the event of a government shutdown.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Exactly right, Trish. And you know a Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "During times of problems, leaders should not just go with consensus. The leaders should lean forward and shape consensus." And if you just look at the last 18 months since FY 18, we had three shutdowns, 11 additional threats of shutdowns due to lack of appropriations or a lapse of FAA reauthorization. I'll give you the dates.

Paul Rinaldi:                  September 30th, 2017 threatened both appropriations and FAA reauthorization shutdown. The CR went to December 8th of 2017. We've got an FAA extension to March 31st. The appropriations went to December 22nd. December 22nd with the appropriations was a lapse or a CR was passed until January 19th of 2018 where we experienced a three day shutdown because they couldn't come to agreement. Then they passed the buck to February 9th of 2018 where we had an overnight shutdown because Rand Paul was upset over something and he shut the government down as he did his filibuster all night long.

Paul Rinaldi:                  They pushed the so-called agreement that they reached on February 9th to March 23rd of 2018. And what happened there was the president said he's no longer going to sign an omnibus, so he threatened to shut the government down. They actually come to some type of agreement and they pushed it to CR to September 30th of 2018. At that time, FAA reauthorization was March 31st of 2018, and then the extension went to September 30th of 2018, all which creates uncertainty for this Agency that we all work in with no funding and no rules set. On October 1 of 2018, the appropriations FAA reauthorization, we received a CR to December 7th for appropriations and the FAA reauthorization was extended to October 7th, basically just one week. They passed that very authorization, a five year bill, we all went, "Wow! First time for a five year bills since 1982. Certainly our problems are done." Not the case.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Appropriations was up on December 7th of 2018. At that time, Senator McCain passed away. So they didn't want to fight here in Washington, D.C. as they had his funeral and his memorial, so they pushed it to December 22nd of 2018. And that's when it started, the 35 day shutdown. They came to some type of agreement as we saw the president there and to reopen the government only to February, 15th of 2019. And we hit, it was about the 11th hour. We weren't sure they want to sign it. But it brings us to October 1 of this year. So is it the consensus in this room that we have a funding problem? I can't hear you.

Audience:                     Yes.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Yes. We do have a funding problem and there's no way to run the safest, most efficient system in the world with drips and drabs and wondering what you're going to have next week, next month, next year. We have to work on our infrastructure. A lot of our buildings are past their life cycle, and you know which ones they are because you work in them every day. Our technology, although we are upgrading, we're not upgrading to the most modern technology that's out there. The pressure that we have to continue to modernize, staff our system, and run the most complex system in the world is intense. So this week when you're here, you're going to help us, right? Because October 1 is right around the corner.

Paul Rinaldi:                  And every time we hit one of those dates with the FAA, they're preparing for a shutdown. They're not preparing to hire a new air traffic controllers or safety professionals. They're not preparing to modernize our system. They're certainly not preparing to resolve disputes we may have in the labor relations arena. They are preparing on who's essential, who's not essential, or accepted non accepted, whatever the term you want to use. 10 days out, sending lists back and forth, comes to NATCA, NATCA sends it to the reps, the managers are looking, they're working, and it changes as you know, as your medical changes if you're taking some type of prescription medication that they accuse you, you're no longer coming into work during a shutdown.

Paul Rinaldi:                  And it is very fluid. And it's not like the FAA has the greatest technology. They're basically using an Excel spreadsheet with everybody in the system. So it takes an incredible amount of personnel hours and as we run up into that shutdown, and then they kick at the can three weeks down the road, well, about 10 days out from that next CR, our next threat of appropriations lapse, we're now working one more time on that list because it changes every day. It is an insane way to look at this high stressed, high occupation, dynamic aviation system that we always have to be on the cutting edge. It's an insane way to continue to run this. But we continue to build relationships to make sure that our voice is heard in many arenas, whether it's with the Secretary of Transportation. And Trish and I met with her and had conversations with her during the entire shutdown, and she was on the pulse of it. And she knows this is not the way to continue to run this aviation system.

Paul Rinaldi:                  The Acting Administrator, Dan Elwell, and the CEO, Teri Bristol, continuing to say, "Keep doing what you're do at NATCA because you're actually exposing the problems that we have in the system." And it looks like we're going to have a new administrator, Steve Dickson, had his confirmation hearing last week. You might get asked that while you hit some of your offices. Steve is a collaborator. He reached out to Trish and I. We've known him for a long time in industry. We've built relationships with him. We talked to him a couple of times right before his hearing and wished him luck. I think he'll be a very good administrator. I don't know if they're going to move forward and give somebody a five year term on this White House when next year at this time there'll be looking at possibly having a new president and maybe number 46. But who knows. But I will tell you this, as you continue to build relationships today and moving forward, it is about maintaining your professionalism, the integrity of the system, the safety of the system and the efficiency of the system.

Paul Rinaldi:                  And I am sad to say, when you look at what's going on with the Boeing 737 Max issue that quite frankly, maybe the United States aviation system, the FAA is not considered the gold standard anymore. We were to last to ground the airplane. And now how do we come back up without a consensus of other countries? And it's very interesting that other countries are saying, even though we are the country of certification, because it is an American-made aircraft, that they're going to do their own certifications. We've heard Canada, we've heard European countries, even some South American countries saying they're going to do their own certification.

Paul Rinaldi:                  So if our Congress, men and women, and senators, and the White House want to continue to be the world leader in aviation, we have to get our act together. We have to focus on what the future holds. We have to lean forward into important decisions and not shy away from changing the status quo because we are losing our competitive edge. And it hurts me to say that. And if we continue to run this machine the same way the next couple of years, we will continue to lose our edge around the world.

Trish Gilbert:                 So we have been doing this work for NATCA for quite some time as many in the room have been shoulder to shoulder with us for three decades now. But I will tell you this Union and the way it can come together in a crisis is nothing short of amazing. I've seen it over and over again, we get tougher when things get more challenging and this last shutdown was no different. While painful as we bring in a new generation of activists that will do this for 30 years, I think it maybe opened their eyes a little bit to the importance of being part of this collective, the strength that is a union and what we can accomplish together much more than we could accomplish as individuals.

Trish Gilbert:                 And so when we started this shutdown or the shutdown started on December 22nd, not that there's any good time for a shutdown, but this was absolutely the worst time that we could have seen a government shutdown, was right a month and a couple of days after an election, the House had flipped to the Democrats, many, many lost their elections or didn't run, so they weren't going to be part of any decisions. Over the holidays nobody was paying attention to anything except the holidays. You could not get any momentum or any traction with anybody that could get us out of that shutdown for that first two weeks that we were in it. It was very painful as individuals that came from an air traffic controller profession where you have control to feel like you didn't have the control that you needed to get our system and our members out of this situation. It was really, really heartbreaking to see.

Trish Gilbert:                 So we lost that couple of weeks because we just couldn't get any traction because of the holidays, couldn't really get any traction even immediately following the holidays because the House wasn't sworn in yet with the new leadership being in place. There was some discussions with us, as Paul mentioned, with the Secretary's office. Certainly, meetings were taking place at the White House, even some messages getting back to us that we already knew. You didn't have to tell us that if we weren't careful, we would lose our Union if we misstepped, not that we would have because we're professionals and our safety above all actually means something to us. So we knew our people that we represent would show up and do what they needed to do because the American public, the flying public, it was not their fault that the shutdown had occurred. They needed to get places to be with family. They needed to get to places to get medical treatment. They needed us to be there and we were there.

Trish Gilbert:                 But the messages that came back to us were certainly not just don't misstep, but what Reagan did in three days, I will do in three hours. So some of the messages that we sent you about professionalism and sticking together, we meant that, but we also knew that our emails to you were being shared across industry and certainly all the way up to the White House. So we needed to make sure that on the other side of this, when we were able to get legislators to start drafting legislations to fix these kinds of scenarios, that we retained our integrity and our credibility throughout the entire shutdown. And we did that. We plan things hoping that we wouldn't have to execute them. Two weeks, we couldn't get traction, but we knew as soon as the legislators were sworn in, we'd be able to start to move them.

Trish Gilbert:                 So we planned a rally on the Hill, a rally with Republicans and Democrats alike from the Hill, from Congress and Senate, a rally with all of aviation, from airports to the UAS community to Airlines for America, the pilot's union, the Flight Attendants' union, and there were others, all impacted by the shutdown, but certainly very, very much in our corner to make sure that we could get this government open as soon as possible. So they were there on the Hill at the rally with us. We planned that rally thinking we might not have to actually have it. That was our hope. But you have to plan anyway. And boy, when we went to that rally that day, and we had a pre rally here where we fed those people that took buses in and drove miles and miles and miles to get here to join us on a very cold day out in front of the Capitol, we walked into the Hyatt. First, we walked in. It didn't seem like anybody was in the four year. We thought, "Oh geez, nobody's here." And then we walked around the corner to where the food was being served and there were hundreds and hundreds of NATCAvists and their family in their purple shirts. And that's when you realize, again, we are not ever alone. We have each other. And as long as we have each other, and we have focus, and drive, and we're motivated and inspired to do what's right, we can accomplish great things. And we did accomplish a great deal during that 35 days. Yeah, we did.

Trish Gilbert:                 And we have done leafleting at airports and it sucks. We know how bad it sucks, but we knew we needed to get the message out to the flying public. We didn't expect them to take the pamphlet and make the phone call, but we needed them to be aware there was an effect. That government means something, air traffic control's important. And we got media for doing that leafleting at the airports. We picked 70 airports and we were strategic, that we had a lot to do with the size of them, but also who flew in and out of them. But lo and behold, again, I'm amazed at our membership, a dozen more locals came forward and said, "Can you send us materials? We want to leaflet as well." Amazing. Amazing that our members continue to step up like that in great fashion to do something to help us fix this issue.

Trish Gilbert:                 The letter writing campaign, the handwritten letters, we did more... again, we did the leafleting, hoping that we wouldn't actually have to execute week after week that the government would open. But we had to, and we did, and you did it with professionalism, even when some of the people were at... Well, I won't say that out loud. We're not as strong advocates for all of us, let's just say that. You still did it. And thank you for that. The media, amazing. We'd been spending many, many years training our reps and other activists in media, so they'd be better on the Hill, they'd be better on panels, and then they certainly in front of a camera. And boy, did they stay on message throughout. And as we shifted our talking points in our message, they all shifted very, very professionally right along with us. And it was really an amazing thing to see.

Trish Gilbert:                 Hopefully we never have to go through that again. Hopefully we never have to use that rally, leafleting, Hill visits, three rolling lobby weeks. Let's file a lawsuit just because we don't have anything else to do and let's spend another 10 years in litigation, which we will by the way, 10 more years in litigation, but we will get the answer to whether they can actually pay you zero or do they have to at least pay you minimum wage, but we'll get that answer eventually. So we can do amazing things and we've done amazing things, not just with the shutdown. Certainly, I mentioned earlier 2013 when they closed the Academy for the entirety of the year. We still have not made up for that staffing problem that was created because of that. It's not just that, many other things goes back to the White Book and certainly the predictability of the mass retirement after 1981 that the Agency just pretended wasn't going to come.

Trish Gilbert:                 But regardless, we are in a staffing issue. We knew that the hiring needed to be fixed within the FAA. They needed to streamline it. They have the authority to do some of the things that we were asking them to do. Raise the age from 31 to 35 for experienced controllers, for example, go back and lift the biographical assessment, if not for all, for some, so we could get people into the profession. No shortage of people want to do this job. It's unfortunate the Agency can't get them through a process into the Academy, into a facility, and certified as quickly as we need them. It shouldn't be that big of an issue, but it is. So what did we do when we couldn't convince the Agency to change some of their hiring practices, which they have the authority to do?

Trish Gilbert:                 We went to the Hill and we changed the law. Something's wrong when it's easier to change the law than it is to change FAA HR policy. But that's our reality. And we did it. We did it with HR 5292. In 2016 May on this stage, we pitched 5292 a bipartisan piece of legislation, which raised the age from 31 to 35 for experienced controllers out of contract towers and out of the military. It allowed those that were first subjected to the 2014 biographical assessment and had aged out because they failed it to go back and take it again and try and get hired. And it also allowed CTI graduates and military veterans to forgo the biographical assessment and go right to the ATSAT. That's what we were able to do with HR 5292.

Trish Gilbert:                 We got 250 cosponsors within a couple months when the FAA reauthorization bill was extended. I don't know what, one, that was, five, six, seven, I don't know. We added it to the bill and we were able to get that signed into law. So now that is a law of the land. Fast forward, the biographical assessment is kind of in the garbage right now. I guess we should have gone to Tucker Carlson instead and got him to talk about the biographical assessment, and White House would have eliminated it, and we would have saved a lot of political capital apparently. But who knew?

Trish Gilbert:                 Regardless, it was easy for us to change a law than to change HR policy. And certainly, we could have litigated that, got an interpretation in the law through the court system, which were, it would have sat and would continue to sit for many years because litigation is a very slow process. So that is where we have brought ourselves. Our staffing still is suffering. As you know, we have a great amount of trainees in your facilities. So the hiring, the agency has met their hiring goals with the exception of this year, they will not, because we lost a couple of months, which in FAA years means a lot. We always just times three and that's FAA time. So we lost some momentum this year with hiring.

Trish Gilbert:                 We have 10,500 controllers in the system, which is still a 30-year low of CPCs at fully certified controllers. Close to 3,000 trainees that we need to train. So our focus has been very, very aggressively with the FAA on doing better in and around training. We have almost 2,000 people still eligible to retire out of that 10,500. So we are not in the clear on staffing. That is still a focus. And what we can't have is another government shutdown where people stop training, they shut down the Academy, we don't deploy new equipment, and we go backwards and backwards and backwards.

Trish Gilbert:                 We are at a critical state right now, and your legislators need to hear this from you, we can't have another government shutdown on October 1. They need to do the work that we've asked them to do and fund our Agency. And if they're not able to do that, we need them to pick up HR 1108. And HR 1108 is an important piece of legislation. It is bipartisan. 40 industry partners sign on a letter of support for this piece of legislation. And we stopped at 40, because we needed to get the letter done. HR 1108, it allows us to draw money out of the Aviation Trust Fund.

Paul Rinaldi:                  So we have $6 billion on committed in the Aviation Trust Fund. And every year there is an uncommitted balance in our trust fund. And the trust fund is explained out there perfectly on one of those billboards. And what happens is when you buy your ticket, those taxes, all that goes into a trust fund. It then gets sent to Congress and Congress decides what to appropriate, and they leave an uncommitted balance in there, sometimes six, sometimes $10 billion. What it would do, 1108, would tap into uncommitted balance that's not really set for anybody and it's just sitting there. It's usually to offset some spending bill that is popular for the day. And what they would do is, any event we're running up into, one of those 14 days that I just showed you, when we're running out of funding, the FAA wouldn't have to send over the list, and wouldn't have to ping pong back and forth the list, and pull back on modernization projects, and pull back on the Academy because it would be funded in whole as it is during an appropriations bill funded in full with the uncommitted balance.

Paul Rinaldi:                  And then when they've decided to open the government, the appropriators would determine if they want to replenish the trust fund, the uncommitted balance, or if they just wanted to continue to run with the appropriations process as is. It doesn't take any authority away from the appropriators, it actually just... all it does, it gives us the ability to not be interrupted in hiring, in modernizing, in staffing our facilities, in running as safe system while they want to fight over gun control, and immigration, and health care, and Planned Parenthood. All very important issues, as Trish said, all probably important issues that many people in this room, but not germane to running the safest, most efficient system in the world.

Trish Gilbert:                 So HR 1108, the ask is simple. We collected revenue into the trust fund during a shutdown via the fuel taxes, passenger fees, yet we can't draw into that money in the event of a shutdown. HR 1108 allows us to do that as Paul explained. Your ask is simple. Co-sponsor HR 1108 on the House, Co-sponsor Senate bill 762 in the senate, if they're already a co-sponsor, thank them. And there's almost 160 co-sponsors with over 40 Republicans, so it's a bipartisan piece of legislation. Thank them for doing it. But your second piece, in addition to the cosponsoring of the two bills or thanking the ones that have already cosponsored, let them know what a shutdown was like, what the effects of a shutdown to the system, and let them know that we cannot see another one. We should not see another one. Be very, very clear about them discussing this with their leadership in the House and the Senate and that they need to be advocates on our behalf to ensure that the leadership hears from them, that we need to not see another shut-down. No more shutdowns.

Trish Gilbert:                 So be very clear, cosponsor the two bills 1108 in the House, if they're already gone, thank them. The Senate 762 cosponsored the bill, and again relay the effects and ask them to be proactive with their leadership to ensure we don't see another shutdown on October 1, very simple. There are other pieces of legislation up there right now that we've been working with members of Congress, specifically a couple of senators on a hiring package. We don't need you to get in the middle of that, but certainly if you get questions about 1148. If you get a question on that, make sure our government affairs office is engaged and they will take care of any questions. So again, don't get in the middle of some of those other pieces of legislation. We want really to focus on October 1 is coming very quickly, HR 1108. Our goal, we will tell you, we expect to be out of this NATCA in Washington. We'll give you a couple of weeks when you get home. Let's hit 250.

Paul Rinaldi:                  290.

Trish Gilbert:                 290.

Paul Rinaldi:                  290.

Trish Gilbert:                 290 co-sponsors. We're at 160 now. I will tell you the Hill thinks we're crazy for thinking we could do that. They don't know us very well.

Paul Rinaldi:                  Tell them what happens in 290.

Trish Gilbert:                 290. Yeah.

Paul Rinaldi:                  It's automatic. 290 would get us to the floor for an automatic vote. And I will tell you, some of our closest friends in the Democratic leadership will tell you, "The only reason we're not really supporting this," it makes complete sense, "is that air traffic control is all anyone ever cares about during a shutdown." So if we eliminate the pointy end of the spear and take care of your issue, we could have shut downs all the time and we can be shut down for a very, very long time. So 290 would be the goal that makes them take it to the floor for a vote. Obviously, 218 would pass it, but 290, they have to bring it to the floor for a vote in the House.

Trish Gilbert:                 So it is not a slam dunk, the bill. As Paul said, there is opposition because you eliminate the effects on our system and our country by carving out one group. Certainly, we've been very clear as our government affairs department has with the legislators that we need to not to fund defense first because that actually being that the military was funded and not suffering through the shutdown, and we don't want anybody to suffer through the shutdown, but that actually probably played a big part into why the last one lasted 35 days. So we are asking them not to fund defense first, to hold out, and fund everything together or work through it, so we're not left out there as a pointy end of the spear.

Trish Gilbert:                 In addition to that, we do have some appropriators that are co-sponsors, but we do have appropriators that are opposed to it. They believe it is part of their jurisdiction, our position as well as the authorizers, which is Chairman DeFazio and Chairman Larsen who introduced the piece of legislation, believe they are authorizing the agency to draw funds that have already been collected through taxes and excise fees so that it's not a funding bill. It is allowing, it's authorizing them to pull money from a fund that's already there. So the appropriators, while they feel like it might be in their sandbox, we believe it is not, certainly authorizers believe it is not, don't get into an argument with them, but be very clear with them. It draws money. It authorizes the FAA to draw money from the trust fund. It is not a funding bill, it is not an appropriations bill, it is not an automatic CR in the event of a shutdown. You got to be very clear and separate from that when you speak to your legislators, especially those appropriators, but again, do not get in any arguments with them, just relay the feedback that you get and we'll deal with that with our government affairs staff and our National Legislative Committee.

Trish Gilbert:                 So with that, this is a wonderful event and we've been up here awhile. We're going to cover the ask several more times throughout the day and in the morning you'll have the ability in a workshop to practice the ask. So hopefully you'll get everything you need from us. First timers, don't fear the meetings. Nobody's going to send you in all by yourself to relay the message. You'll have experienced advocates going in there with you and believe it or not, you'll probably get halfway through your first meeting and you'll be ready to lead the very next one. So it is very much like talking to your colleagues in this very room. They're just legislators and their staff. And they're real people that care about our issues for the most part. So make sure that because you care about it, they care about it as well.

Trish Gilbert:                 So the event's wonderful. A lot of work goes into this as you know, if you've had any hand in it, even previously or this week. And this event could not go on without the work of a great committee. They work year round. It's not just about NATCA in Washington. It's not just about the rolling lobby weeks. They work on campaigns and get members involved in campaigns during election season. They push you to have facility visits in your towers, in your TRACONs, in your centers, in your offices, wherever you work with your legislators and their staff. So you can show them what we do for living and how important the system is to this country. And without their work and their volunteerism, this union would not be where we are today with the credibility that we have on the Hill. And certainly our volunteer army would not be as strong as it is today without their tireless work.

Trish Gilbert:                 So I would like to bring up one of the hardest-working committees in NATCA. I'm going to start with their mentees and I'm going to have them come up on stage. So if you could hold your applause till they're all up here, I would appreciate it. Let's start with the mentees from Salt Lake Center, Caryn Smith. From Tulsa, Berkley Atkins. Our alternate legislative committee members or National Legislative Committee members from Region X, Jason Holland, from Alaska, Richard Tiny Fagg, from Northwest Mountain, Jenny Benjamin, from Western Pacific, David Skarphol, from Southwest Region, Bill Dewey from Central Region. Ryan Berg, from Great Lakes Region, Nick Yochman.

Trish Gilbert:                 Let's see, I lost my list. From New England Region, Juan Ledesma from Eastern Region, Dave Romano, from Southern Region, Anthony Schifano, and our National Legislative Committee from Region X, Samantha Giberson. From Alaska, Dawn McFalls, from Northwest Mountain, Richard Kennington, from Western Pacific, Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik. from Southwest Region, Cory Soignet, from Central Region, Allison Schwaegel, from Great Lakes Region, Erin Phelps, from New England Region, Andre Jean, from Eastern Region, Kristena Jones, the very quiet Kristena Jones. From Southern Region, Stan Parulski, and their Chairman, Mr. Steve Weidner. So if you could join me in thanking them and giving them a wonderful round of applause.