FAA Downplays Unsafe Working Conditions

YPSILANTI, MI – The Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS), the union that represents more than 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, today expressed serious concern about unsafe working conditions for employees assigned to the Ypsilanti systems support center in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Complaints from FAA employees reveal a disturbing pattern of negligence and indifference regarding the safety of its employees.

Over eight years ago, technicians warned the FAA that the support center in Ypsilanti was in need of serious repairs to maintain the integrity of the building. The facility is plagued with underground water damage, mold and asbestos issues, and electrocution hazards caused by standing water. Several weeks ago, a technician was repairing equipment at the facility and fell through the rotted flooring. The employee had experienced similar dangerous circumstances on two previous occasions. It was only after rigorous efforts by local PASS members that the FAA distributed a memo instructing all employees to stay out of the hazardous facility. Three days later, the same technician was instructed to return to the facility to repair an outage. When he referenced the memo and then was denied personal protective gear required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for employees working in areas with known hazards, he was threatened with disciplinary action.

“FAA negligence in maintaining this facility has made it extremely dangerous for employees,” said Gil Alfaro, a local PASS representative. “The situation at this facility is a recipe for disaster, yet the FAA is willing to stand by and continue to subject its employees to potentially deadly working conditions,” said Alfaro.

“Safety must always be the FAA’s number one concern – for air travelers and its employees. By failing to address the most basic of safety requirements, the FAA is showing blatant disregard for the safety of its employees. This sort of irreverence cannot be tolerated and must be addressed before an employee is seriously hurt,” said Alfaro.

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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 www.passnational.org.

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