2:24 PM

NATCA Not Buying What Bush is Selling

It didn't take long for NATCA to come out opposed to the Bush Administration’s nomination of Bobby Sturgell for new administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. I have to agree with their thinking on this, because in today's Good Old Boy's Network in WDC, replacing Marion Blakey with someone groomed on her watch is like putting another helmsman in charge of steering the Titanic.

The following is a statement from NATCA President Patrick Forrey:

“NATCA opposes the nomination of Bobby Sturgell for administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. We oppose it because America's aviation system is experiencing record delays and an unprecedented degradation of safety margins, exacerbated by the largest decline in the number of experienced air traffic controllers since 1981. The mislabeled contract that the FAA imposed upon its controller workforce on Sept. 3, 2006 has resulted in more than 1,550 air traffic controllers leaving the FAA due to a poisonous and acrimonious labor situation in which morale has never been lower. Simply put, over the past five years of this administration, we have experienced the demise of the world’s safest and most efficient air traffic system.
To me – and apparently to NATCA too – the Sturgell nomination is same crony, different gender:
“The President's nomination for FAA administrator has been an integral part of this systematic demise of controller staffing and abysmal labor-management relations. Therefore, NATCA will not support a nominee that will continue to exhibit a management philosophy that demoralizes its valuable workforce to the point of leaving.
Well put. I absolutely agree with NATCA that FAA has fumbled the ball regarding the pathetic way they treat our controllers. I have been involved with union negotiations a time or two as a Teamster worker, and the back and forth of labor relations is never pretty. But this recent rash of deplorable treatment towards NATCA's rank and file workers smells like FAA is actually TRYING to provoke a strike so they can Ronald Reagan the controllers straight to the unemployment lines. Again, from a NATCA release:
“Air traffic controllers remain committed to a goal of safety above all. We support modernization and want to be part of any plans to improve the safety and efficiency of the system. However, until the FAA embraces a collaborative relationship with its controllers, beginning with a fair collective bargaining process and a contract we can ratify, the outlook for the workforce and the system remains grim.”
I privately predicted this exact scenario would play out. Bush will nominate someone who will keep his agenda moving forward, a BFF who will play on his team to make sure Congress passes some sort of fat tax break for his Big Airline CEO buddies, because it's what The Decider wants.

And what The Decider wants is what America gets shoved down our throats. At least until January 20th, 2009, when The Decider and his cronies go back under their rock.

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