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Federal Workers Deserve A Raise, Democrats Propose A 5.3% Increase

AFGE Workers want a raisePushing back against the Republican’s austerity budgets, Democrats introduce a 5.3% increase for federal workers.

Federal employees deserve catch-up contribution to counter years of lost wages

WASHINGTON — For a number of years now politicians in Washington have been forcing their austerity budgets on the hard working men and women that make up the federal workforce.  Federal workers have already given back $182 billion dollars in forced concessions through pay freezes, pay cuts, and increases to their retirement plans.

Nationally the economy keeps moving forward and the cost of living continues to rise yet federal workers are stuck in reverse.

“It’s time to raise wages for all working families in this country, and the federal government should serve as the model for all other employers to follow. This is why AFGE strongly supports the ‘Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act’ introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia. This legislation will provide federal workers with a 5.3% pay raise next year,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.

The bill introduced in the House in mid-January already has 81 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.

“AFGE has led the call for a 5.3% pay raise and I’m incredibly grateful for the strong support our proposal has received. Federal employees have gone far too long without a decent wage increase, resulting in a 6.5% drop in their standard of living since the start of the decade,” added Cox. 

Nationally the cost of living has risen over 21% in the last ten years but most federal workers have only seen a couple of precent increase in their wages.  Federal workers have faced same economic struggles as every other American during the last 10 years.

“Federal employees are just like other workers – they are struggling to keep up with house and car payments, student loan debt, and rising costs for prescriptions and groceries and other essentials,” said Cox. “We are not asking for any special treatment, just a catch-up contribution to start making up for the $182 billion that federal employees personally sacrificed to help get our nation through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

During the last six years Congress, mostly Republicans, have been using federal workers as their own personal piggy banks.  They take money that should have gone to the workers and repurposed it for their own benefit.  They force pay cuts on the workers and give more tax breaks and subsidies to corporations who are making record profits or to billionaires who are not paying their fair share of taxes as it is.

“As a result of six years of low to no pay raises, the purchasing power of federal paychecks has declined substantially. The women and men who keep this country running deserve a standard of living that keeps up with inflation and rising wages, which is why this catch-up contribution is long overdue. Congress must pass this legislation,” said Cox. 

NATCA Lays Out Support For Air Traffic Control Reform Proposal

(Image by InSapphoWeTrust CC Flickr)

(Image by InSapphoWeTrust CC Flickr)

NATCA supports the proposal to create a not-for-profit independent organization and says proposed legislation meets NATCA’s primary concerns.

NATCA LOGOWASHINGTON, D.C. – NATCA President Paul Rinaldi today appeared before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to discuss the pending FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 4441. Rinaldi offered support for air traffic control reform proposal contained in the bill. Rinaldi’s prepared remarks are below:

Thank you Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman LoBiondo, Ranking Member Larsen and members of this committee.

I am grateful for the opportunity to testify today as we discuss air traffic control reform and the FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 4441. NATCA supports this bill, because it contains necessary reforms that we believe will help us maintain the safest, most efficient airspace in the world while we move forward with innovative modernization projects, while protecting the workforce.

We all have a stake in this country’s National Airspace System (NAS). It’s an economic engine, contributing $1.5 trillion annually to our gross domestic product and providing over 12 million American jobs.

Currently, we run the largest, safest, most efficient, most complex, and most diverse airspace system in the world. Our system is unique, unequaled and unrivaled by any other country – due in large part to the impeccable work of the men and women I represent who run this system. The United States airspace system is considered the gold standard in the world aviation industry. And yet, we have come to the difficult reality that change may be needed — globalization and innovation are driving dramatic changes in the aviation industry and sadly our current structure cannot keep up.

The current aviation system has served us well until recent years. Unfortunately, we no longer have a stable or predictable funding stream and this uncertainty has caused many serious problems for the system.

Without change, we face continued funding uncertainty. We all remember the disruptions we experienced in 2013 with sequestration. The FAA scaled down all modernization projects. The Agency looked at closing 238 air traffic control towers and tried to close 149 of them due to purely financial reasons, without regard to operational considerations or what was best for the NAS. They considered reducing services at many airports across the country. They halted air traffic controller hiring for the full year, which is still contributing to staffing problems today. The FAA was forced to furlough air traffic controllers, causing rippling delays through our system. Further, the Agency went to a fix-on-fail maintenance philosophy and stopped stockpiling critical parts for essential equipment. These decisions were all made in order to meet the budget restrictions of sequestration, not for operational reasons or to ensure safety. Our 24/7 aviation system has been challenged by 23 extensions in authorization, a partial shutdown, a complete government shutdown as well as numerous threatened shutdowns. We are currently in our first extension, and if we are honest with each other, we are looking at the very least, at one more extension. All stakeholders in the NAS must work together to ensure that the United States remains the world leader in aviation.

With all of these challenges in mind, we applaud the hard work of all the members on the Committee to draft a comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill to address these long-standing problems.

NATCA has publicly stated that any FAA restructuring must achieve the following:

  • In order to maintain NATCA’s support, any new system must ensure that our members are fully protected in their employment relationship. Maintaining our members’ pay and benefits, including retirement and health care, along with our negotiated agreements for their work rules, are crucial to us.
  • Safety and efficiency remain the top priorities. This means that we cannot allow maintenance to lag, and cannot reduce staffing to save money. The NAS must remain fully staffed in order to ensure both safety and efficiency.
  • A stable, predictable funding stream must adequately support air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization projects, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure. The stop-and-go funding crises create staffing shortages, which slow the hiring and training process. Inadequate funding also prevents NextGen modernization projects from timely implementation. Any new system must improve upon the status quo, by providing an environment that promotes growth in the system and allows us to lead the world in aviation innovation.
  • A dynamic aviation system that continues to provide services to all segments of the aviation community, from commercial passenger carriers and cargo haulers, to business jets, to general aviation, from the major airports to those in small communities and rural America. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that a new system continues providing services to the diverse users of the NAS. The United States has a vibrant general aviation community that relies on us. At the same time, rural America’s economic success is connected to the access we create with our comprehensive NAS that serves even the most remote areas.

We believe the legislation addresses NATCA’s primary issues of concern.

A not-for-profit independent organization run by a board of stakeholders could deliver results similar to those we have seen in Canada where NavCanada has had two decades to prove itself as a safe and innovative airspace system.

Finally, I want to state clearly that we will continue to vigorously and carefully review this legislation at all times. If at any time there are changes to this bill, we will immediately examine them to ensure the bill continues to align with our organization’s policies, practices, and principles. We reserve the right to withhold our support if any changes cause the bill to violate our principles.

We are excited to be a part of this important discussion. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this bill and I look forward to any questions.

A New Hampshire Republican Tries To Sneak In A New Kind Right To Work For Less Bill

The proposed bill puts a new twist on an old, well known union busting Right to Work law

Right To Work is Wrong for NH

Tomorrow, the NH House Labor Committee will hold their public hearing on HB 1341 a new and very sneaky way to pass a Right To Work for less bill.

Republican Representative John Martin introduced HB1341 as a way for non-union members, who are covered by a union contract, to get out of paying their fair share by allowing them to make a donation to the charity of their choice.  This would allow the non-members to freeload off the union by skipping out on their share of the administration costs.

This is exactly the same as every other Right to Work for less bill except in this version non-members would still have to pay, they just would not have to pay the union.

Right to Work is a union-busting tactic has been used for decades. Bust the union by attempting to bankrupt them.

We already know that Right to Work laws are designed to destroy unions and further the Race to the Bottom.  Workers in Right to Work states make about 3% less than workers in free bargaining states. This means workers will make on average, $1500 less in Right to Work states.  Workers are also much less likely to have access to healthcare, retirement plans and other negotiated benefits like family leave and paid sick time.

This piece of legislation could allow these freeloading non-members to take money that should have gone to the union and funnel it directly into anti-worker groups like the Americans for Prosperity, who are officially listed at a charity by the state.

Passing Right To Work has been one of AFP-NH’s main legislative goals for many years.

Did the Americans for Prosperity have a hand in writing this bill? I do not know, but I am pretty certain they will be there to support it.

If you agree that this type of underhanded attack on workers is wrong then join us at the NH State Capitol’s Legislative Office Building, Room 307, tomorrow (2-11-16) to make your voice heard.

If you cannot make it to the State House tomorrow, you can write or call the members of the House Labor Comittee (click here to email the committee) and tell them to vote this bill “INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE” to kill the bill.

AFGE Calls For 5.3% Pay Raise For All Federal Workers

vcsPRAsset_525404_86490_95a0a69c-3c0e-4be8-8c5e-83f07471049e_0Largest Federal Employee Union Issues Budget Day Call for Higher Wages, Improved Benefits

Key lawmakers signal support for AFGE’s proposed 5.3% pay raise at government worker rally

WASHINGTON – As President Obama issued the final budget of his administration Tuesday, the American Federation of Government Employees called on Congress to raise wages for federal workers, extend paid parental leave to employees, and reject proposals that would undermine basic worker rights and protections.

“Federal employees have been given the short end of the stick for far too long. It’s time to start giving back to the workers who give so much to our country,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

AFGE’s call for a 5.3% pay raise in 2017 has already won the backing of prominent lawmakers including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland – all of whom endorsed the proposal during a legislative rally AFGE held Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol.

“We are sick and tired of pay freezes and pathetic penny ante raises. We are sick and tired of falling behind inflation and further behind private-sector pay,” Cox said. “We’re not asking for any special treatment, just the pay increases we are owed after six years of low to no pay increases.”

AFGE supports several proposals in the president’s budget to invest in the federal workforce, including:

  • Providing federal employees with six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, and ensuring that employees can use sick days to bond with a healthy new child;
  • Hiring additional staff at the Office of Personnel Management to answer phone calls and emails from employees regarding retirement claims, which would improve customer service and reduce the average processing time for claims.
  • Increasing federal cyber security spending by 35% to modernize outdated federal IT systems, which could help prevent further attacks such as last year’s massive OPM data breach of federal employees’ personal information.

However, we are opposed to a provision included in the president’s budget that would allow the government to charge federal employees and retirees more for their health insurance if they are deemed unwell. We also oppose a plan to create regional Preferred Provider Organizations to compete against popular national plans, since this could segment the market and cause more harm than good.

“The federal government should serve as a model employer for the rest of the country to follow. Thanks to sequestration and budget cuts, federal employees have fallen further behind the private sector and are making less today than they did five years ago,” Cox said.

“We need to invest in our workers through higher wages and better benefits, and by fighting proposals that would undermine the government’s merit-based employment system.”

Days Ahead of Primary, Fight for $15 Spreads to New Hampshire

Fight For $15 - Rally and March - 04/15/15 Image by Barry Solow FLIKR CC

Fight For $15 – Rally and March – 04/15/15 Image by Barry Solow FLIKR CC

Fast-food cooks, cashiers in Granite State to wage first-ever strike for $15, union rights before GOP debate in Manchester

With 45% of N.H. workers paid less than $15/hour, underpaid workers to push candidates from both parties to back $15, union rights

Manchester, NH — Just days before the New Hampshire primary, cooks and cashiers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and other chains will walk off their jobs for the first time across the Granite State on Saturday to demand $15/hour and union rights. With voters in the state citing the economy as their top concern, fast-food workers also announced that they will protest with other underpaid workers outside the GOP debate in Manchester Saturday evening to stress that the 45% of workers in New Hampshire who are paid less than $15/hour are a voting bloc that cannot be ignored. 

The workers’ strike follows a wave of walkouts coinciding with presidential primary debates in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Iowa, and comes as low-paying jobs are dragging down communities across New Hampshire: 45% of workers in the state, or some 281,000, are paid less than $15/hour, making the need to raise pay a major issue in the run-up to the primary.

“My three young kids are growing so quickly, and on $8 an hour I can’t even afford jackets for them in the winter,” said Megan Jensen, who is paid $8/hour at KFC in Manchester and who will be a first time voter in the New Hampshire primary. “I’ve never walked off the job before, but I can’t wait any longer for fair pay. Everyone deserves at least $15/hour and the right to a union, and candidates who are flying into New Hampshire this week need to know that we are taking this demand to the polls.” 

Fast-food workers started organizing in New Hampshire after seeing how workers in neighboring Massachusetts have won pay increases and made $15/hour a top-tier political issue by joining together and going on strike. Workers at a string of Boston-area hospitals including Boston Medical CenterTufts Medical Center, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital have won pay raises to $15/hour in recent months. In July 2015, 35,000 home care workers across Massachusetts won an unprecedented statewide $15/hour minimum wage through a contract negotiated with Gov. Charlie Baker. And in January, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour during his State of the City address in January.  

Fast-food workers started organizing in New Hampshire after seeing how workers in neighboring Massachusetts have made $15/hour a top-tier political by joining together and going on strike. In January, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour during his State of the City address. Workers at a string of Boston-area hospitals including Boston Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital have won pay raises to $15/hour in recent months. And in July 2015, 35,000 home care workers across Massachusetts won an unprecedented statewide $15/hour minimum wage through a contract negotiated with Gov. Charlie Baker.

Saturday, Feb. 6: Schedule of New Hampshire Fight for $15 Strike Actions and Events

Ongoing Media Availability

Striking fast-food workers available throughout the day for interviews. Contact Jack or Anna above to arrange.

2:00pm ET Strike | Wendy’s 675 South Willow St., Manchester, NH 03103

Striking New Hampshire fast-food workers available for interviews. Strike to feature compelling visuals.

6:00pm ET Protest | Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102

Massive crowd of underpaid workers will march to St. Anselm College to protest at the GOP debate.

Striking fast-food workers will be joined by child care and other underpaid workers from across the state who are fighting for $15/hour and union rights: 

“Child care workers and parents are struggling to get by on low wages, and our children are paying the price,” said Jen Cole of Pittsfield, NH, who’s paid $13.25/hour after working in child care for nearly 20 years. “When I started in child care, my husband and I relied on food stamps and Medicaid to care for our three kids. Politicians talk a lot about protecting our kids’ future, but they’re not doing enough about it. In 2016, I’m looking for the candidates who support $15 and affordable care for all working people.”

Wherever 2016 candidates go this election season, fast-food and other underpaid workers are following to demand $15/hour and union rights. Days before the Iowa caucus, fast-food workers walked off the job for the first time in the state, drawing widespread attention hours before a GOP debate in Des Moines. Earlier this year, a walkout by hundreds of fast-food workers in Charleston prompted a statement of support by the Democratic National Committee and an impromptu visit from  Sen. Bernie Sanders, who grabbed a bullhorn and  praised the strikers just moments before he took the floor for that night’s Democratic debate. And in November, following a nationwide strike in 270 cities and an evening protest outside the GOP debate in Milwaukee, the first question directed at candidates that night asked them to respond to the demands of fast-food workers seeking $15 and union rights. 

The Fight for $15 strikes in key primary states shows the political power of underpaid workers who, just three years ago launched their movement for higher pay and union rights in New York City. By repeatedly going on strike and raising their voices, fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid workers have made income inequality a dominant theme in the 2016 presidential race. Entrance polls from Iowa revealed that inequality weighed heavily on voters’ minds, and candidates are responding: In June, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told fast-food workers at a national convention in Detroit, “I want to be your champion,” and said that “what you’re doing to build the Fight for $15 movement is so important.” In recent months, Clinton has held round-table meetings with home care and child care workers fighting for $15/hour and union rights. Prominent elected officials including U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison have called for raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. And the Democratic National Committee voted in August to make $15/hour an official part of its 2016 platform. 

Workers will also continue to collect signatures on their Fight for $15 Voter Agenda, a five-point platform that launched late last year and calls for $15 and union rights, affordable child care, quality long-term care, racial justice and immigration reform—issues identified by underpaid workers as key factors in whether they will go to the polls for a candidate. They will put politicians on notice that, as a voting bloc, workers paid less than $15 could swing elections all across the country.

A recent poll of workers paid less than $15/hour commissioned by the National Employment Law Project showed that 69% of unregistered voters would register to vote if there were a candidate who supported $15/hour and a union; and that 65% of registered voters paid less than $15/hour would be more likely to vote if there were a candidate who supported $15/hour and a union. That’s 48 million potential voters paid less than $15 who could turn out if there were candidates who backed higher pay and union rights.

Deceptively Named Federal Employee Rights Act is “Venomous Attack” on Federal Workers, AFGE Says

AFGE David CoxAnti-labor bill would strip federal employees of their most fundamental workplace rights

WASHINGTON – Legislation introduced in the House would strip federal employees of their basic workplace rights and disempower the people who care for our veterans, inspect our food, and deliver our social security checks, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today.

“This is yet another in a long line of systematic attacks on working-class and middle-class Americans at the local, state and federal levels,” Cox said. “The sole objective of these anti-labor actions is to make it as difficult as possible for working people to join unions and to diminish basic rights and protections that all employees deserve.”

H.R. 4461, the Federal Employee Rights Act, introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, would substantially eliminate the federal worker voice and make it much harder for federal employees to join a union.

“This legislation has a very misleading title and is being introduced under the false premise that federal employees are forced to pay union dues. Only federal employees who choose to join the union pay union membership dues,” Cox said.

“This is just the latest in a string of venomous attacks targeting the federal workforce: stripping VA employees of their due process rights, removing civil service protections for DoD workers, doubling the period in which new employees can be fired without cause.

“When you take away an employee’s basic rights to representation and due process, you end up with a system in which employees are fearful of coming forward to expose waste, fraud and abuse at their worksites. These types of poisonous proposals will result in higher rates of employee turnover and make it that much harder for agencies to recruit the best and brightest employees to deliver critical programs and services that Americans rely on.” 

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Says Judge’s Ruling Against County Right To Work Ordinance A Victory For Kentucky’s Working Families

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and non-union, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety” 

AFT Local 1360

Bill Londrigan

Bill Londrigan

Federal District Judge David Hale’s decision striking down Hardin County’s “right to work” ordinances was a victory for Kentucky’s working families, says Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and non-union, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety,” he added. 

In short, these ordinances are wrong,” he added. “The courts rejected out-of-state special interests’ attempt to take over local governments by pushing a radical outside agenda.”

In January, 2015, nine unions filed suit against Hardin County’s RTW ordinance, arguing that federal labor law permits only states and territories to pass RTW laws. Eleven other counties approved similar ordinances and Hale’s ruling, in effect, invalidates them, too. 

Both sides stated their cases before Hale in Louisville in August, 2015. He ruled in favor of the unions on Feb. 3.

“We would like to thank all of the working families and elected officials that fought hard against these illegal ordinances,” Londrigan said. “The Kentucky AFL-CIO and hardworking Kentuckians will continue to fight for fair wages, more good jobs and more investment in education – and fight hard against unfair, illegal and unnecessary legislation.

“It is unfortunate that out-of-state special interests wasted taxpayers’ money with these attacks on Kentucky workers by pushing a radical out-of-state agenda. Our mission is to improve the lives of all working Kentuckians and raise the standard of living for all Kentuckians. We salute the working people of Hardin County for taking a stand against out-of-state corporate interests.”

The pro-RTW Americans for Prosperity Kentucky contributed a $50,000 grant to a legal defense fund for counties that faced legal action for passing RTW ordinances, according to Kevin Wheatley of cn/2 Pure Politics.

Buddy Cutler

Buddy Cutler

Buddy Cutler of Louisville, attorney for the unions, said Hale’s opinion was solid, well-reasoned and followed established law. “It is a victory for working people that honors Congress’ intent and implements the wise federal labor policy that companies and unions should be free to negotiate contracts without undue interference from local officials.”

Hale said the National Labor Relations Act “preempts the right-to-work, hiring-hall, and dues-checkoff provisions of Hardin County Ordinance 300.” He also ruled that “Section 14(b) is the only exception to NLRA preemption of the field of labor relations, and it does not extend to counties or municipalities. Because Ordinance 300 does not fall under § 14(b)’s narrow exception, sections 4, 5, and 6 of the ordinance are preempted and thus invalid.”

Obama Drops the Ball with Proposed 1.6% Pay Raise for Federal Workers

Employees deserve a meaningful increase to make
up for years of neglect, AFGE says

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:

“President Obama has again set the bar far too low by proposing a 1.6% pay raise for federal employees in 2017, continuing a regrettable record of denying federal employees even the most basic cost-of-living adjustments.

“According to the federal law governing the civil service pay system, federal employees should receive an across-the-board increase of 1.6% next year, plus additional locality adjustments to help close the pay gap among employees in the federal and private sectors.

“For six consecutive years, federal employees received no locality increases to their pay, and for three of those years they received no pay raise at all. Since 2010, the inflation-adjusted value of federal wages and salaries has fallen by 6.5%, leaving all federal employees with a lower standard of living than they had at the start of the decade.

“We believe federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise next year to help make up for years of neglect by elected officials. AFGE is calling on lawmakers to approve a 5.3% pay raise in 2017, which reflects the 1.6% national increase employees should receive plus a partial catch-up for the national and local pay adjustments denied for the past four years.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

Bernie Sanders Vows To Kill The Job Killing TPP

“Trade is a good thing. But trade has got to be fair.
And the TPP is anything but fair,”

CONCORD, N.H. – As the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact was signed by the United States and 11 other countries, Bernie Sanders promised to “fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to benefit working families, not just the CEOs of large, multinational corporations.”

Sanders has opposed the Pacific trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement and permanent normal trade relations with China since day one. The North American Free Trade Agreement led to the loss of 700,000 jobs. The trade deal with China led to the loss of 3.2 million jobs. And since 2001, nearly 60,000 manufacturing plants have been shut down and 4.7 million jobs have been lost.

“Trade is a good thing. But trade has got to be fair. And the TPP is anything but fair,” Sanders said.

In addition to shipping thousands of jobs overseas, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would increase already skyrocketing drug prices and threaten American laws that protect the environment, workers and consumers.

“As your president, not only will I make sure that the TPP does not get implemented, I will not send any trade deal to Congress that will make it easier for corporations to outsource American jobs overseas,” Sanders said.

FAA Employee Unions Reject Proposal to Privatize Air Traffic Control System

Today, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the unions representing thousands of employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), released the following statement in response to introduction of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R.4441) by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.):

“The reauthorization of the FAA is a critically important piece of legislation that ensures the continued operation and modernization of this country’s aviation system, as well as the jobs of thousands of federal employees. While we continue to analyze the draft of the bill as a whole, as representatives of these federal employees, we are discouraged to note the inclusion of language seeking to privatize the portion of the FAA responsible for air traffic control.

“Making massive changes to the FAA’s structure is neither a prudent nor responsible decision to move the agency forward. Privatizing the FAA will only add uncertainty and potentially reverse major advancements that have been made over the past several years toward modernization.It is paramount to ensure that the FAA has a consistent and adequate funding stream. However, this does not require changing the entire structure and turning it over to a private corporation to make funding and governing decisions, possibly subjecting the system to economic downturns and financial hardships.

“FAA employees are public servants who ensure the safety of the flying public. A privatized model that functions without oversight could lead to self-serving agendas, taking control out of the public’s hands. Who is going to ensure the public airspace is operated fairly and openly for all of the diverse users of the system and for the public’s benefit? This is the priority for federal employees at the FAA and should not be entrusted to a private corporation, regardless if it is a for-profit or not-for-profit entity.

“AFGE, AFSCME and PASS firmly believe that the FAA must remain a cohesive unit of federal employees. We look forward to working with members of Congress to move the agency forward.”

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association also released this statement in support of the bill.

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