- 02 Jun
Yesterday, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) joined a coalition of federal employee unions in writing a letter to President Trump asking the administration to “prioritize the safety and security of its workers” as the government looks to call its workforce back to facilities after nearly three months of maximized telework during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We share in your desire to resume the vital work of federal employees as soon as it can be responsibly achieved, and we hope you recognize that it is paramount that workers be protected while performing their duties,” the letter states.
Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), a yearly celebration to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees, starts Sunday, May 3.
This, however, is a year unlike any other. Since the beginning of March, public service employees nationwide have been on the job under extraordinary circumstances. Bus and subway operators working in confined quarters, risking exposure to COVID-19. Public school teachers engaging students now confined at home through video conferences. State government workers trying to keep up with the crush of unemployment claims. Postal workers providing a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable citizens. Firefighters and first responders always on the frontlines, not knowing what the next 911 call will bring. And employees at public hospitals from coast to coast struggling under the worst of it.
On April 28, in recognition of Workers Memorial Day and in light of the dangers faced by many federal employees during the COVID-19 crisis, PASS National President Mike Perrone issued the following statement:
“Workers Memorial Day has long been an important day of remembrance and recognition for me. It is important to take a moment and realize that every day PASS members at the FAA and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and all federal employees, are risking their personal safety to ensure the people of this country stay safe.
“Workers Memorial Day is also an opportunity to highlight the specific needs of the federal workforce during this time of uncertainty. As such, PASS is proud to support the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020 (H.R.6559). This act requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an emergency temporary standard to protect employees from occupational exposure to the virus responsible for COVID-19.
Several technicians represented by the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) union tested positive for the coronavirus at the first affected facility—the tower at Chicago Midway International Airport—announced by the FAA on March 17.
“Like all public servants, we’re still on the job during this national emergency, ensuring that critical medical personnel and cargo are reaching their destinations even as commercial air traffic has been drastically reduced,” said PASS national president Mike Perrone. “Like employees at many federal agencies, however, our members received inconsistent and sometimes contradictory information as this crisis unfolded from the [Trump] administration and the Office of Personnel Management and for us, from the Department of Transportation and the FAA,” Perrone added.
The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) issued the following statement today regarding the situation at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport last night:
Upon learning that an air traffic controller tested positive for COVID-19 at McCarran International Airport, PASS is alarmed that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical operations employees the union represents were not immediately informed about the test results so they could take proper precautions. They found out about the exposure after the tower at McCarran was evacuated. PASS is not the employee representative of the air traffic controllers.
The health and safety of FAA employees is a top priority for PASS and the union wishes a speedy recovery for the impacted controller and his or her family.
Just yesterday, PASS cautioned that the COVID-19 outbreak at Midway International Airport was not going to be an isolated incident and urged FAA leadership to set a gold standard with its response to the Midway situation for other airports to follow.