ATM Modernization

FAA, NATCA Reach Labor Agreement

By Tish Drake | August 14, 2009
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FAA and its largest union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), on Thursday reached a labor agreement, following what the agency described as a "challenging" mediation process. FAA said the joint decision to engage in mediation was an important first step; an independent arbitration team released a decision on a handful of issues not resolved by the mediation, which settled more than 100 of the issues in dispute. The agreement needs to be ratified by the union members, who have 45 days to approve the deal. The five issues decided by arbitrators, including compensation, are not subject to ratification by members. The agreement addresses several issues, including giving employees with greater flexibility in their work schedules, childcare support and a new grievance review process. "This tentative agreement marks a turning point in the relationship between the FAA and its air traffic controller and traffic management employees,” said Patrick Forrey, president of NATCA. "We look forward to working with the FAA and the aviation industry and community in a collaborative process to develop and implement the much-needed next generation aviation system."Also, according to FAA, the deal gives the agency the flexibility to more effectively redeploy labor to congested airports using Controller Incentive Pay. The agreement also restores a more equitable pay standard. The associated costs will be phased in over the three years of the contract, which helps ensure that FAA will not have to tap into its budget for critical capital investments in order to handle increased personnel costs. “This marks a new day between the FAA and the air traffic controllers as we move forward with a spirit of cooperation,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We are hopeful that once the review and ratification are complete, we can accelerate our efforts to adopt NextGen, the next generation air transportation system.”

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