This Week in NATCA/Labor History
Thursday, October 07, 2010


October 1983 — Controller training procedures: The FAA institutes a program called Structured Staffing at its centers. The program limits the number of radar controllers, which delays training for new hires and increases overtime for journeymen. Structured Staffing also gives priority for on-the-job training to controllers with college credits regardless of previous air traffic control experience. The program angers more senior controllers and those from the military, who watch their less-experienced colleagues advance in training and receive accompanying pay raises while they stagnate.

The FAA dissolves Structured Staffing in June 1984, but it leads some frustrated controllers to thoughts of a union.

October 9, 1987 — Drug testing: NATCA and FAA representatives meet at FAA headquarters to sign an agreement regarding random drug testing. The agreement provides for a grievance and arbitration procedure for controllers who are forced to undergo testing. The signing follows a U.S. District Court ruling denying an injunction against testing sought by NATCA and AFGE.

October 1989 — NATCA begins labor relations training: The union holds its first facility representative training class at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Md. The weeklong program includes classes in federal sector labor relations, management rights, unfair labor practices, disciplinary and adverse actions, grievance and arbitration preparation, and a briefing on the contract.

October 11, 2000 — NATCA organizing: The FLRA certifies NATCA as the exclusive bargaining representative for FAA employees in the Logistics, Finance, and Computer Support divisions in the Alaskan Region.


1961: The United Mine Workers of America votes to reaffiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President.

1986: One thousand seven hundred female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married.

1995: Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. featuring pay increase that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks.