Bill Would Promote Fair Resolution of Contract Disputes

WASHINGTON, DC– Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) today introduced the “FAA Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006,” which would protect federal employees’ collective bargaining rights by preventing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from unilaterally imposing contract terms on FAA employees through its misinterpretation of the law.

The Obama legislation was spurred by the ongoing contract negotiations between the FAA and the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS), the union that represents FAA systems specialists and safety inspectors, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). Under the FAA’s faulty interpretation of the law, if the FAA declares that contract negotiations are at an impasse, the administrator can send the matter to Congress. If Congress does not act on the contract within 60 days, the FAA’s contract offer will automatically be imposed on employees.

“There is no incentive for the FAA to negotiate in good faith with its unions,” said Tom Brantley, national president of PASS. “The FAA is playing games by refusing to negotiate in good faith, knowing full well that in the end its contract demands will ultimately be forced upon public servants who are committed to keeping our skies the safest in the world.”

The “FAA Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006” aims to engage both parties in binding arbitration as a means toward a final agreement. However, the bill contains a provision that still allows Congress to weigh in if it chooses. Congress would need to take action within 60 days to prevent the impasse from going to binding arbitration. Without passage of this legislation, PASS is one of several unions that will feel the brunt of the current unfair practice.

“PASS applauds Senators Obama, Inouye, Murray and Lautenberg for their leadership on an issue as important as workers’ collective bargaining rights and hopes that Congress will work to ensure passage of this vital legislation in the near future,” said Brantley. “PASS fully supports this legislation and hopes it will lead to productive negotiations with the FAA. For our part, we maintain a commitment to work in good faith with the agency on all contract negotiations. We can only hope that the FAA will do the same.” 

Click here to view the bill.


PASS represents more than 11,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight procedures and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems. For more information, visit the PASS website at

Jan 26, 2006 - 1:42:00 PM
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