WASHINGTON, D.C. – National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi urged lawmakers today to immediately pass an FAA extension. Rinaldi cautioned Congress not to leave for its upcoming August recess before passing an extension to restore the jobs of 4,000 laid-off FAA employees.
Of the 4,000 furloughed employees, NATCA represents nearly 1,200 from its Engineers and Architects, FAA Airports Division and Aviation Technical Systems Specialists bargaining units. Also needing restoration are the tens of thousands of construction jobs that are part of shuttered air traffic control, airport and modernization projects that are critical to the safety and efficiency of the system, Rinaldi said.
“This FAA extension is a jobs bill and it directly impacts the lives of real people, skilled aviation professionals who play a vital role in the safety critical function of the FAA. For the sixth straight day, these hardworking men and women have been forced to face the real consequences of having been laid off and dealing without paychecks. They feel like pawns in this game and have no control over it.
“NATCA represents over a quarter of these workers,” he continued. “They are the men and women who maintain and inspect the facilities and equipment that provide the foundation for the safest and most efficient air traffic control system in the world. They are building and implementing the Next Generation Air Traffic Control system. They are non-partisan career civil servants who in many cases have spent more than two decades working to provide the public with safe, modern and efficient air travel in this country.”
“The man who represents these laid off employees in our affected bargaining units is himself a laid-off FAA engineer, Mike MacDonald. He, like the others who have been laid off, has a family, with many bills, mortgages, rents, student loans and some have kids in college. This is a tremendous financial burden for them and it’s unfair and unacceptable that their lives have been turned upside down in this game of politics.
“These employees want to get back to work. They don’t want to engage in the blame game. They don’t want to see their elected officials pointing fingers at the other side of Capitol Hill. They just want to work. They want a paycheck.”