PASS President Testifies Before Congress on Critical Aviation Safety Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tom Brantley, national president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), testified today before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Aviation, to discuss proposals vital to aviation safety, including contract negotiations between the FAA and its unions, staffing of the technician and inspector workforces, the FAA’s application of its designee programs, and the FAA’s reauthorization proposal. PASS, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is the oldest and second largest FAA union, representing about 11,000 FAA employees both in the U.S. and abroad.

Primary among issues highlighted by Brantley are contract negotiations with the FAA, where four of PASS’s five bargaining units are at impasse. During his testimony, Brantley emphasized that “change is clearly needed to guarantee FAA employees access to an equitable contract negotiations procedure,” which ultimately is key to morale for aviation employees.

Brantley also called attention to the need for the FAA to address staffing levels for both technicians and inspectors. “Inadequate technician staffing has resulted in more unplanned outages, a dramatic increase in restoration times, and a move toward a ‘fix on failure’ approach where preventive maintenance and certification of National Airspace Systems (NAS) and equipment are significantly reduced, said Brantley.

With regard to the inspector workforce, Brantley testified that “staffing levels are at an alarming low, and with nearly 50 percent of FAA inspectors eligible to retire by 2010, the situation will soon become even more critical.” Brantley asked Congress to direct the FAA to develop a staffing model to meet the demands of the industry while satisfying safety requirements. Brantley pinpointed FAA’s reliance on its designee program and the increased trend of outsourcing maintenance and use of non-certificated repair stations as reasons behind the driving need to ensure an adequate inspector workforce.

“The United States has the largest, safest and most efficient aviation system in the world. This reputation is kept intact through the work of experienced and trained FAA employees whose goal is to ensure and promote the safety of air travel,” said Brantley. “PASS is solely focused on making sure this country maintains its standing as having the safest aviation system in the world; the employees we represent give us confidence that this is a possibility.”


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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.


Mar 22, 2007 - 9:33:00 AM
PASS PRESIDENT TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS ON CRITICAL AVIATION SAFETY ISSUES
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