The National Air Traffic Controllers Association Celebrates “100 Years Of Commercial Aviation” (VIDEO)

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“One day the skies will be crisscrossed with airlines carrying freight and passengers!

Thomas Wesley Benoist, 1914
Constructed the first commercial aircraft. 

 

 

NATCA — “We Guide You Home” 

24 hours a day, 365 days a year members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association are working to make sure that your flight gets home safe and sound.

NATCA presented this short video at their annual safety convention, Communication for Safety, where 1400 people from the aviation industry came together to talk about ways to make our worldwide air traffic system even better.

Click here to read our previous post about CFS and the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards.

If you are one of the 743.1 Million passengers who fly every year then take a moment to say “Thank You” to the men and women who “Guide You Home.”

If you are an aviation enthusiast then be sure to ‘LIKE’ NATCA on Facebook!

Transportation Trade Unions Call For A Rejection Of Norwegian Air’s Air Carrier Permit

Transportation Trade Unions Call on U.S. DOT to Reject Norwegian Air International’s Application for Foreign Air Carrier Permit

Letter is broadest call yet to rebuff NAI’s style of business

Image from Sirus1278  CC Flikr

Image from Sirus1278
CC Flikr

Washington, DC – Twenty-two unions with the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO weighed in on an ongoing and escalating debate about the future of international air travel today. The unions called on U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to reject Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit now pending before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  The union signatories represent teachers, electricians, construction workers, public sector workers, and a broad swath of the private and public sector transportation workforce.

“As the representatives of unions that represent workers in several sectors of our economy we have seen first-hand the effects of un-checked globalization on the American workforce,” says the letter.  “We cannot allow a similar fate to befall the U.S. aviation industry and lose a creator of middle-class jobs and a pillar of our inter-connected transportation system.”

The letter notes that TTD and its aviation unions have argued extensively that NAI’s application is contrary to the United States’ international obligations and laws, and would allow NAI to gain an unfair advantage over U.S. carriers and their employees.

The letter continues:

We add our voice to this debate for several reasons.  We believe that if the U.S. DOT approves this flag of convenience scheme, it will set a precedent for other foreign air carriers to exploit and follow.  NAI is promoting a business model that has become all too familiar to the U.S. labor movement: undercut the competition by scouring the globe for cheap labor, diminished collective bargaining rights and weak regulations.  The airline has registered in Ireland, even though it will not service Irish airports, and has chosen this path to avoid Norway’s labor and tax laws.  It will contract – or more accurately “rent” – much of its flight crew from Thailand using a recruitment firm based in Singapore.  In doing so, NAI will be able to undercut U.S. airlines and their employees by as much as 50 percent.

Read the full letter below or view the signed PDF version here

The Honorable Anthony Foxx
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue. S.E.
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary Foxx:

On behalf of the undersigned affiliated unions of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) we urge you to reject Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit that is now pending before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). TTD and its aviation unions have already submitted extensive arguments on why NAI’s application is contrary to our nation’s international obligations, inconsistent with U.S. law, and would allow NAI to gain an unfair advantage over U.S. carriers and their employees.

We add our voice to this debate for several reasons. We believe that if the U.S. DOT approves this flag of convenience scheme, it will set a precedent for other foreign air carriers to exploit and follow. NAI is promoting a business model that has become all too familiar to the U.S. labor movement: undercut the competition by scouring the globe for cheap labor, diminished collective bargaining rights and weak regulations. The airline has registered in Ireland, even though it will not service Irish airports, and has chosen this path to avoid Norway’s labor and tax laws. It will contract – or more accurately “rent” – much of its flight crew from Thailand using a recruitment firm based in Singapore. In doing so, NAI will be able to undercut U.S. airlines and their employees by as much as 50 percent.

Finally, as TTD and its aviation affiliates have demonstrated, the NAI scheme would violate the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement which expressly bars this sort of business model through adoption of a labor article – embodied in Article 17 bis of the agreement – that embraces “high labor standards.” We urge you to uphold the spirit and intent of this important labor provision when implementing the Open Skies Agreement, and reject NAI’s application.

As the representatives of unions that represent workers in several sectors of our economy we have seen first-hand the effects of un-checked globalization on the American workforce. Too often, poorly conceived and badly enforced free trade agreements have led to the offshoring of U.S. jobs. That is why U.S. industries that previously formed the backbone of our economy have seen dramatic job losses that have coincided with the erosion of the middle class. We cannot allow a similar fate to befall the U.S. aviation industry and lose a creator of middle-class jobs and a pillar of our inter-connected transportation system.

We stand unified with U.S. and European airline unions in steadfastly opposing the NAI application. Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, SEIU (NCFO,SEIU)
International Organization of Masters,
Mates & Pilots, ILA (MM&P)
Transportation Communications Union/ IAM (TCU)
Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (SUP)
UNITE HERE!
American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
SMART – Transportation Division
Communications Workers of America (CWA)

Armed TSA Transportation Security Law Enforcement Personnel Will Make Airports Safer

Image from eyeliam
-- Jason Lander
Image from eyeliam -- Jason Lander

Image from eyeliam
– Jason Lander

WASHINGTON, DC – Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement in support of the aviation safety and security reforms advanced today by J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), at a field hearing held by the House Homeland Security Committee in Los Angeles, CA.

Transportation Trade Department Logo“We join AFGE today in calling for the creation of Transportation Security Law Enforcement positions that will be charged with enhancing security at airport checkpoints throughout the country.  This proposal is a common sense response to the tragic shooting and killing of a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) last November at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  That tragedy was a stark reminder that the nation’s 45,000 TSOs – on the frontlines of keeping our skies and airports safe – still face too much exposure to dangers and violence in and around security checkpoints.

“While we commend the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its call for increased armed presence at airport security check points and in other sensitive areas of the terminals, we urge TSA Administrator Pistole to support staffing armed TSA Transportation Security Law Enforcement officer positions as a logical next step in fortifying security checkpoints.  This approach is a win-win: it will keep TSOs safer while also enhancing passenger safety and security.

“It only makes sense to keep the safety of these security check points within the jurisdiction of TSA – it will give the agency an important tool to better protect TSOs and the flying public and will free up law enforcement resources for deployment in other parts of airport terminals.

“I also join AFGE’s call today for Congress to pass H.R. 4026, the Honor our Fallen TSA Officers Act, which was recently introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA).  This bill would grant TSOs the public safety officer status they deserve and make families of TSOs who die in the line of duty eligible for federal death benefits, including the family of the TSO who was killed  in the LAX shooting.”

TTD Urges Administration to Deliver Strong Message to EC: Keep Aviation and Maritime Out of TTIP

Transportation Trade Department Logo

Transportation Trade Department Logo

WASHINGTON, DC—Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues the following statement in response to news accounts of leaked European Commission (EC) proposals to include aviation and maritime services in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal currently under negotiation:

“Recent press reports of ‘leaked’ documents confirm what we’ve known for some time: the European Commission (EC) continues to advance a trade agenda that would undermine U.S. airline and maritime jobs and our national and economic security. The Europeans have been pushing a reform agenda through attempts—in defiance of longstanding U.S. trade policy—to include aviation and maritime in U.S.-EU talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. Specifically, the EC seeks to weaken or eliminate our laws limiting foreign ownership and control of U.S. air carriers and to hollow out Jones Act protections at the expense of U.S. Merchant Marine jobs.

“Air and maritime services have historically been excluded from broad free trade agreements and for good reason: both sectors serve strategic economic and national security purposes for the nation. While America’s long-term economic interests are intrinsically linked to a robust U.S. aviation and maritime sector, the EC would have us hand over the keys to these vital industries. The Obama Administration must reject these efforts.

“Fortunately, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last July removed maritime from TTIP talks by declaring that ‘The Administration has continuously ensured that application of the Jones Act is permitted under each of our trade agreements’ and that it ‘will continue to take this position.’ We urge the Administration to reaffirm those views and to declare that aviation will not be a subject of TTIP negotiations. Instead, aviation trade negotiations should continue to be handled through bilateral negotiations under the auspices of the Department of State and Department of Transportation.

“These leaked documents demonstrate the EC’s resolve to pursue reforms in U.S. transportation policy that have been roundly rejected by the President and by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. In fact, 158 members of the House have already written Ambassador Froman in opposition to including aviation in TTIP talks.

“Aviation and maritime have no place at the TTIP negotiating table. We urge the Obama Administration to deliver this message unambiguously to its European counterparts.”

Workers ask “Is Allegiant’s Proposed Expansion at Punta Gorda a Trick or a Treat?”

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWU

Discount carrier has track record of cancelling routes and abandoning entire communities

PUNTA GORDA, FL – Members of the Transport Workers Union, representing more than 600 flight attendants at Allegiant Air, will leaflet passengers at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda, Florida on Halloween – Thursday, October 31stfrom 9 am to 1 pm.

Responding  to reports that Allegiant frequently abandons routes and cancels service, union members will ask if Allegiant’s proposed expansion of service to and from Punta Gorda is “A trick or a treat?”

Who:   Members of TWU Local 577
What: Informational Leafleting, informing passengers of reports that Allegiant has cancelled routes and abandoned service in many communities.
Where: Charlotte County Airport
                2800 Airport Road, Punta Gorda, FL 33982
When:  TODAY – Thursday, October 31, 9 am to 1 pm (Eastern Time)

Allegiant, a discount carrier, claims low fares but has been reported to add fees which can double the price of a ticket. The airline recently announced new flights from Punta Gorda to communities in Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

“We’re always glad to see our company add new service,” said Debra Petersen-Barber, an Allegiant flight attendant who is lead negotiator for TWU Local 577. “We’re convinced that success for our company depends on mutually-beneficial long-term relationships with employees, passengers and communities.”

To accommodate the proposed increased flights, Charlotte County Airport is undergoing a $7 million expansion. Ninety percent of the funding is expected to come from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a report in the Charlotte (FL) Weekly, with the remainder provided by the state of Florida and the airport authority.

“It’s always a treat to see announcements for new routes and new service,” said TWU International Vice President Thom McDaniel. “But the trick is that Allegiant has claimed it’s a ‘badge of honor’ when they abruptly cancel a route or completely abandon service to a community,” he added, referring to comments made by a senior company official during a June 5, 2013 interview on Fox Business News.

“With millions of dollars in public money at stake, the public has a right to know about this company’s track record,” said McDaniel.

An ‘UnRoute Map’ on a TWU website, WillAllegiantBeThere.org, shows a dozen communities where Allegiant has completely abandoned service, and 23 routes that have been cancelled by the airline.

Allegiant has been reported to add fees for items like using a credit card when buying a ticket.  Passengers have enduredreported mechanical failures and other events that have caused inconvenience, emergency landings and delays of up to 52 hours.

The leafleting at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda is not a work stoppage, nor a request for any individual or group to take action.

A majority of flight attendants at Allegiant voted in favor of TWU representation in December 2010.  Union representatives began negotiations with company officials in June of 2011.  More than two years later, Allegiant has yet to reach a first contract agreement with flight attendants.

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 200,000 workers and retirees in commercial aviation, public transportation and passenger railroads, including 11,000 flight attendants. The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Unions Prevail In Fight To Keep ‘Knives Off Planes’

Knife

One of the biggest reasons workers join unions is to improve the safety of their working conditions.  In some cases, the union stands up to oppose changes that would reduce the already safe conditions of their workers.  This was the case after the Department of Homeland Security changed their policy to allow knives on commercial flights.

This policy change brought outrage from many of the organizations who represent workers in the aviation industry.

On May 6, The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) was one of nine organizations representing over 400,000 aviation professionals, passengers and law enforcement officers that filed a legal petition with Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, urging them to rescind the policy change and keep the knife ban in place.

“I commend Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Pistole for listening to our concerns and having the wisdom to withdraw this proposal in light of the grave safety and security risks to our members at TSA, to the flying public and aviation employees,” Cox said.

After today’s announcement to rescind the policy  the Transportation Worker Union President James C. Little released this statement:

Three months ago, on March 5, and every day since, our union and others concerned about passenger safety urged that a policy shift that would allow sticks, knives and clubs on planes be reversed.  The leadership of TSA listened and they should be commended for taking the advice of flight attendants and other workers at commercial airlines charged with passenger safety.

This is a very important issue to The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who is the exclusive representative for the more than 45,000 Transportation Security Officers. TSO’s screen all commercial airline passengers, baggage and cargo.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. released this statement after today’s announcement:

“This decision is the right one for the safety and security of every Transportation Security Officer, airline passenger and aviation employee.”

“In addition to the lessons learned on 9/11 about the threat of terrorists armed with knives, our concern is for our members who are assaulted far too often by irate passengers. Keeping the knife ban will help keep those confrontations from escalating,” Cox said.  

 

What Do You Mean My Flight Is Canceled Due To SEQUESTRATION???

air traffic controller

The newsrooms are a buzz with the information that was just released from the Federal Aviation Administration on the potential impacts of the Sequestration.   Sequestration is the name given to the draconian cuts that are going to rip apart the government and our economy at the same time.

Today Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, released a letter to the aviation community highlighting the impacts.

1.  Furloughs of 11-22 days between April and Oct 1st for all 47,000 FAA Employees.

2. Eliminate midshifts at 60 towers across the country

3. Close over 100 air traffic control towers (link to potential closure list)

4. Reduce preventative maintenance and equipment provisioning and support for all National Airspace System equipment.

These impacts will create massive delays for air travelers, and any business that relies on aviation to move their people or product.  Aviation contributes $1.3 Trillion to the national economy.  With over 70,000 operations every single day and 130 million operations annually, the FAA oversees all of them.

Sec. Lahood also points out that flights to the major airports,  JFK, IAD, SFO, LAX could see delays of 90 minutes or more durning peak times.   Those delays will only create more waves throughout the system as gridlock sets in.

The President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Paul Rinaldi, had this to say after hearing the news.

“Today’s announcement from the FAA unfortunately confirms the concerns we have been warning about for months – sequestration will significantly and perhaps permanently undermine the capacity of the National Airspace System. The fact that they will not just be furloughing critical FAA personnel but closing air traffic control towers means the system will be even more compromised than anticipated. We share the FAA’s commitment to preserving the safety of the system despite these draconian cuts. Safety is always the top priority of air traffic controllers, but the reality is this – safety will be preserved at the expense of operations across the country. Once towers are closed, the airports they serve may be next. Additionally, we believe the delay estimates provided by the FAA are conservative and the potential for disruptions could be much higher.

“Every one of these actions by the FAA will have an impact far beyond inconveniencing travelers. Local economies will be diminished, military exercises will be cancelled and jobs will be lost. There’s no telling how long these effects will be felt because many of these service reductions may not be reversed. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association continues to urge the nation’s policy-makers to find a solution that prevents or mitigates the impact of sequestration in a way that does not diminish the world’s safest and most efficient national airspace system.”

These 47,000 FAA Employees are real people.  They have families, children, and mortgages.   Like many Americans, they probably cannot afford to be forced out of work for an entire month without pay.  Yet this is what Congress is forcing them to do.

We must take action now to stop these draconian cuts from every happening.   Call your elected Representative and tell them to stop this now!  Call your Senator.  Call the White House.  Tell them all that these cuts are hurting hard working families throughout the country.  Tell them how these cuts are going to directly effect you.

Congress created these Sequestration cuts and they can take them away.  It is time to stop playing chicken with our economy and the lives of millions of federal employees and their families.  End the sequestration now, while you still can!