WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA and its largest union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), have concluded a mediation process that has produced a landmark labor agreement.
After years of strained relations, the joint decision to engage in mediation was an important first step, and today’s proposed agreement represents a milestone on the final road to settlement, which awaits ratification by union members, according to FAA officials. An independent arbitration team today released a decision on a handful of issues not resolved by the mediation, which settled more than 100 of the issues in dispute.
Members of NATCA will have 45 days to ratify the proposed agreement. The five issues decided by arbitrators, including compensation, are not subject to ratification by members.
The agreement provides employees with greater flexibility in their work schedules, childcare support, a new grievance review process, and a variety of other gains. At the same time, it affords FAA the flexibility toredeploy labor to congested airports using Controller Incentive Pay. The agreement also restores a more equitable pay standard, to benefit new hires as well as veterans nearing retirement, according to FAA officials. 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.”
“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 wholeheartedly thank President Obama and Secretary LaHood for addressing the tumultuous labor relations issues at the FAA by establishing a fair process that has allowed the parties to negotiate and arrive at a collective bargaining agreement that NATCA members now have an opportunity to ratify. 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.”