This Week in NATCA/Labor History
Monday, July 18, 2011
THIS WEEK IN NATCA/ATC/AVIATION HISTORY:
July 22, 1987 — NATCA legislative efforts: The Aviation Safety Commission, created by Congress in 1986, holds its first day of hearings. The six-member panel—which includes a lawyer, three educators and two business leaders—is charged with presenting recommendations to President Reagan on improving air safety. NATCA National Coordinator John Thornton presents the union’s six-point plan for improving the ATC system:
- Grant immunity for controllers who report operational errors.
- Increase FPL controllers by 3,000 during the next three calendar years.
- Split the FAA’s work between two separate agencies—a proposal NATCA had suggested previously during congressional hearings on forming the Aviation Safety Commission. One would promote the commercial aspect of aviation and remain under the Transportation Department. The other would be an independent agency handling air traffic control, inspection, maintenance and other safety aspects of air travel.
- Require the FAA to report back to appropriate congressional committees within ninety days of any NTSB recommendations. “Too often, we have seen excellent suggestions by the NTSB swallowed up in the FAA bureaucracy and never acted upon,” Thornton says.
- Commission a study, perhaps by the General Accounting Office, into chronic equipment problems at ATC facilities.
- End the practice of contracting out the operation of FAA control towers to private companies, which began in 1982.
July 18, 1988 — NATCA election: The results of NATCA’s first national election are announced. More than 60 percent of members cast ballots for:
President — Steve Bell from New York TRACON
Executive Vice President — Ray Spickler from Kansas City Center
Alaskan Regional Representative — Will Faville Jr. from Anchorage Center
Central — Dan Brandt from Omaha TRACON
Eastern — Barry Krasner from New York TRACON
Great Lakes — Joe Bellino from O’Hare TRACON
New England — Jim Breen from Bradley Airport near Hartford, Conn.
Northwest Mountain — Gary Molen from Salt Lake Center
Southern — Lee Riley from Atlanta Center
Southwest — Ed Mullin from Love Field in Dallas
Western-Pacific — Richard Bamberger from Lindbergh Field in San Diego
Krasner, Riley, and Spickler were declared winners after runoff elections.
July 21, 1995 — Equipment modernization: The FAA and the Australian airline Qantas finish the first test of a satellite-based communication, navigation, and surveillance system. The Future Air Navigation System is designed to improve communications between controllers and pilots flying oceanic routes.
July 21, 1999 — NATCA headquarters: The union signs a purchase agreement with the American Society of Microbiology to buy its office building at 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, D.C., for $8.1 million.
In the fall, as a prelude to closing the real estate transaction, the union forms a nonprofit corporation called NATCA Membership Investments Inc. Under its charter, NMI will own the building. Mike McNally, Randy Schwitz, and Walter Boeing are appointed to NMI’s three-member board; Susan Tsui Grundmann serves as secretary.
THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY:
1848: Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women's Rights and call for women's suffrage.
1940: An amendment to the 1939 Hatch Act, a federal law whose main provision prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, is amended to also cover state and local employees whose salaries include any federal funds.
1971: The first labor contract in the history of the federal government is signed by postal unions and the Postal Service.