PASS on the Retirement of Rep. Peter DeFazio

Dave Spero, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), issued the following statement on the impending retirement of Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.):

“As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. DeFazio has long recognized the importance of frontline employees working to secure the world’s largest, safest and most complex air traffic control system. His support of the dedicated public servants PASS represents at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) has been unwavering.

“In fact, he was one of our key allies in the fight against privatizing that system, a misguided scheme that would turn it over to a corporate entity.

“Rep. DeFazio leaves office with an incredible accomplishment: the infrastructure bill that was signed last month, a once in a generation investment in the nation’s aiports, seaports, roads and bridges. The influx of funds throughout the transportation sector will have a substantial and lasting impact on all Americans and the $25 billion provided for airports and air traffic control facilities will be critical for our workforce.

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PASS Statement on Infrastructure Law

Today, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), released the following statement from National President David Spero on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

On behalf of the 11,000 employees PASS represents at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD), I applaud the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden today. Our members and bargaining unit employees are aviation safety professionals who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, and inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries.

The $25 billion provided for upgrading airports and air traffic control facilities is welcome news and a long overdue investment in the physical infrastructure that supports aviation safety. Many FAA facilities are in serious need of upgrades, from HVAC systems to roofs and plumbing. Our members are continually introducing new technologies and systems to support the national airspace and should be doing so in safe, modern facilities. 

The influx of funds throughout the transportation sector will have a substantial and lasting impact on all Americans and we applaud the efforts of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who helped to take this bill over the finish line. PASS looks forward to being an integral part of implementing the aviation-related portions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November marks Native American Heritage Month! Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) kicked off the commemoration with a video hosted by PASS’s own Ranelle Yazzie. Yazzie is a member of the Diné (Navajo) People; her maternal clan is Red House and her paternal clan is Bitter Waters. She is the National President of the Native American Alaska Native Coalition for Federal Aviation Employees (NAAN). She is a logistics program coordinator for the FAA in Utah and has been a public servant for nearly 30 years.

Said PASS National President Dave Spero, “The FAA associations celebrating the various ethnicities and affinities among employees are a great way to learn more about one another, our backgrounds and our heritage. I want to encourage all the employees we represent to get more involved with the diversity and inclusiveness these groups exemplify.”

NAAN has a number of events planned for this month, which can be found on the association’s website. “We have members of NAAN who represent many tribes and I’m sure they would be happy to talk to you about their heritage,” said Yazzie. “We welcome all FAA employees as members, you do not need to be descended from an indigenous people.” There are many more events for this month across government agencies and you can learn about them here.

PASS Calls for Swift Approval of FLRA Nominees

Today, PASS joined a coalition of 20 unions who represent federal employees asking that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Office of Presidential Personnel act swiftly to approve President Biden’s nominees to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

In a letter sent to Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the committee, and Ambassador Catherine Russell at the White House, the Federal Workers Alliance requested that the committee “schedule immediately a hearing to advance Ernest W. DuBester’s nomination for FLRA Chairman, Susan T. Grundmann’s nomination for FLRA Member, and Kurt Rumsfeld’s nomination for FLRA General Counsel.”

The FLRA is an independent administrative federal agency created by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, also known as the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, to govern labor relations between the federal government and its employees.

Under the previous administration, the general counsel’s office was vacant from November 2017 until the Biden administration took over and appointed an acting general counsel in March. The more than three-year-vacancy led to a backlog of unfair labor practice cases that still need to be cleared up.

“There has been an effort over the last several years to undermine how collective bargaining works in the federal sector,” said PASS National President David J. Spero. “It’s time to have confirmed members on the FLRA who understand how the Statute should function in order to protect the rights of federal employees.”

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PASS Remembers 9/11

On a beautiful late summer morning 20 years ago, the men and women of PASS, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO, were on the job as usual, working for the American public. What transpired that day changed our nation and the aviation industry forever.

In the days, weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) employees represented by PASS went above and beyond their usual selfless dedication to their work. They helped safely clear the skies that day, as over 4,000 planes were grounded and those in the air directed to the closest airport. “This was an amazing feat, that there were no accidents,” recalled one PASS member who was working at the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center at the time, as a computer specialist in automation.

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PASS Elects New National President and Executive Board

Washington, D.C.—Yesterday, members of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) elected David J. Spero to a three-year term to be their next national president. Current national president Mike Perrone is retiring after serving three terms as national president and three terms as national vice president. The union represents nearly 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense aviation safety professionals.

Spero is currently the PASS Region II vice president, responsible for the union’s labor relations matters for FAA Technical Operations employees in the Southeastern, Central and Southwestern United States, as well as employees in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. He was first elected to that position in 2003.

National Secretary-Treasurer Carlos Aguirre was unopposed and will serve another three-year term.

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