Labor Unions, Civil Rights and Progressive Groups Unite to Reject Air Traffic Control Privatization

Today, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO, along with 36 other unions, civil rights groups and progressive associations representing thousands of employees across the country, united to send a strongly-worded letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill opposing any efforts to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system. In addition to PASS, the letter was signed by the NAACP, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Steelworkers (USW), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and many more. Download release.

“We write in opposition to privatization of the nation’s air traffic control system. This misguided scheme poses a significant threat to the labor rights and jobs of American workers,” the letter stated. “The proposal has been included as the centerpiece of both the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act (H.R.2997) and President Trump’s infrastructure proposal.” H.R.2997 is the House version of Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization that is set to expire on September 30.

In the letter, the groups highlight serious concerns with privatization, including the rollback of employee protections, sending jobs overseas, and eliminating veteran’s preferences. “Proposals to privatize our air traffic control system are likely to cause the loss of thousands of American jobs in both the public and private sectors. The legislation includes provisions which would undermine labor rights and harm our veterans. Together, these factors would reinforce wage stagnation and make it harder for Americans to get good jobs that support a family,” continued the coalition.

The letter to House and Senate leadership represents a cross section of American interests standing as one in its belief that privatization undermines the foundation of our middle class. The groups emphasized that handing control of one of our country’s greatest national assets to large corporate interests will unnecessarily put American jobs at risk.

“This is a critical period in our country’s history that could determine, not only the future of aviation, but the future of the middle-class worker,” said PASS National President Mike Perrone. “This legislation is a bold attack on organized labor. Not only does it undermine the protections of current employees, it robs future employees of benefits and provides a template to be replicated across the government and throughout the country.”

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