FAA Labor and Management Tell Congress Not to Privatize the Air Traffic Control System

Today, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), along with six other unions and associations representing thousands of employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), united to send a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders opposing any efforts to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system. In addition to PASS, the letter was signed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), FAA Managers Association (FAAMA), National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), and Professional Association of Aeronautical Center Employees (PAACE).

“On behalf of the thousands of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees represented by our organizations, we are writing to express our concerns regarding any proposal to privatize this country’s air traffic control system,” stated the letter. “FAA employees ensure the highest levels of safety in the world’s largest and most complex aviation system. As you develop FAA reauthorization legislation, we ask that you refrain from any attempts to privatize the air traffic control system.”

In the letter, the groups highlight serious concerns with privatization of the air traffic control system, including the substantial progress currently being achieved through the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), which is resulting in significant cost savings and technological advancements. “Quite simply, overhauling the entire aviation system by removing air traffic control from federal oversight and funding will be a serious setback for its development and growth. Our air traffic control system is a national public asset and we strongly believe it should remain in the public trust,” stated the letter.

The letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Aviation Subcommittee Chair Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) represents a joint opposition by both FAA employees and management. The groups promised to participate in future discussions regarding reauthorization of the agency as lawmakers prepare to hold additional hearings on the subject starting this week. However, they emphasized that they could not support any legislation that favored privatization.

“As representatives of thousands of FAA employees, both labor and management, we oppose privatization of any of the functions or services within the FAA,” the letter concluded. “We are prepared to participate in any future discussions regarding the reauthorization process as we work to ensure the FAA federal workforce continues performing their critical duties to keep this country’s aviation system safe.”

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For a printable copy of the press release, click here.

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