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Tue, Jan 27, 2009

Fight Brewing For Top FAA Job

Former Union Chief Vs. Senator's Aide

The two unions which represent the bulk of the FAA work force have spent the last few years at war with the Bush administration. Suddenly, two candidates for the job of FAA Administrator under President Obama appear to be putting improved labor relations at the focus of their campaigns for the job.

The Washington Post reports Robert T. Herbert, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, appears to be making headway against Duane Woerth, a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association.

As ANN reported, Woerth's name was bandied as a possibility for the job within days of Obama being elected as the 44th President of the United States. Woerth's obvious union credentials put him in the early lead, and he got the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.

However, Herbert recently earned a letter of support from Reid last month, and was able to meet with incoming Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the very day the Senate confirmed his nomination. Under Reid, Herbert served as senior policy adviser on transportation, military and veterans affairs.

The Post reports at least one aviation union has decided it could be happy with either candidate, and won't fight for Woerth over Herbert. Both men have accomplished aviation backgrounds, and are reportedly widely viewed by lawmakers as qualified for the job of FAA Administrator.

Secretary LaHood told Senators during his confirmation hearing that he would prioritize ending the FAA's pay and work-rule fights with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.natca.gov

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