Says FAA Is Becoming "FEMA With Wings"
On Friday, Aero-News brought you the latest
volley between officials with the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association and the FAA, concerning what NATCA called
the "break down" of nine months of negotiations over a new contract
for ATC employees. NATCA president John Carr stated the FAA had
called "impasse" in those talks, by rejecting NATCA's latest (and,
evidently, final) contract proposal.
A short time after NATCA's statement was released, FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey issued a statement of her own...
essentially saying that, to her knowledge, negotiations were
still on -- and the agency was looking forward to resuming those
talks on April 5.
As has become de rigeur throughout this process,
NATCA's Carr (below right) issued a response of his own, which ANN
presents below, unedited. In his statement, Carr says that any
meeting on Tuesday is mere formality... before continuing that the
"rhetoric" from the FAA shows the agency is "hell-bent on becoming
"FEMA with wings..."
Statement From John Carr In Response To Marion Blakey:
We have been made aware
that the FAA is now claiming that contract talks have not broken
down. It is true that the parties will meet next week for the
formal exchange of proposals, but as anyone with knowledge of
bargaining knows, the meeting scheduled next week is nothing more
than a technicality. Final offers have been exchanged and rejected
and negotiations are over -- the mediator knows it, NATCA knows it,
and the FAA knows it.
The FAA is now trying to deny its responsibility for the
breakdown in these talks. The reality is that the FAA caused this
breakdown by rejecting a NATCA offer that would have saved
taxpayers $1.4 billion dollars. Any claim to the contrary is simply
not based on the facts of this situation. The mediator released
both parties from mediation and no further talks are scheduled or
contemplated. This breakdown was caused by the FAA.
The FAA's childish foot-stomping notwithstanding, they bear
complete and total responsibility for today's unfortunate
conclusion. There is absolutely no reason for NATCA to end talks.
The current contract is better than our last, concession-laden
contract proposal at the bargaining table, and our current contract
stays in effect until there is a new contract. We could literally
talk forever and continue to enjoy the contract we currently work
under. NATCA made the mistake of bargaining in good faith with an
employer that is more interested in pursuing a political agenda
than it is in public safety.
The FAA's desperate hypothesis that "talks continue" is more
tired rhetoric from an agency that has never been known for its
credibility. Now that the FAA is hell-bent on becoming "FEMA with
wings," there's really no telling what they will say, but you can
be certain of this: not too much of it will be true. The American
public will have an opportunity to hear both sides in the coming
weeks, and we are confident that when they hear us, they will