This Month in NATCA/ Labor History
Thursday, March 01, 2012
THIS MONTH IN NATCA / ATC HISTORY:
March 15, 1981 — PATCO contract expires: The three-year labor agreement between the union and the FAA lapses. All provisions remain in force until a new agreement is negotiated, except immunity under NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. This program, which was unilaterally canceled by former FAA Administrator Langhorne M. Bond in 1980, enabled controllers and pilots to report mistakes without the risk of penalty in an attempt to solve common problems.
March 7, 1985 — NATCA’s logo is born: Howie Barte presents a graphic containing a control tower and radar sweep bearing the letters AATCC as the proposed logo for the group at an organizing meeting in Boston. Barte conceptualized the logo in 1984 and controller Kim Kochis used artist’s supplies to refine it for the presentation. AATCC declines to adopt the logo due to concerns that it favors terminal controllers, however, Barte uses it for organizing efforts in New England.
March 3, 1986 — NATCA on Capitol Hill: For the first time since 1981, an organization representing working controllers testifies before Congress. The field hearing of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, chaired by Norman Mineta, D-Calif., is held in New Brunswick, N.J. New York TRACON controllers Steve Bell, Joel Hicks and Michael Sheedy speak on behalf of NATCA about airspace congestion, jurisdiction and procedures.
March 24, 1987 — NATCA certification election: The FLRA schedules an election for May 6 through June 10 to decide whether NATCA will represent the nation’s controllers. The move comes after a consent meeting attended by NATCA, the FAA and the FLRA. Several interested parties voice favorable reaction:
- MEBA President Gene DeFries: “For too many years, controllers have sacrificed to keep the system going without having a voice when air traffic system decisions were being made. Representation will mean not only better conditions at work, but will enable controllers to play an important role at a time when critical air traffic system decisions are being made by the Congress and the FAA.”
- AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland: “Air traffic controllers will have the chance, through a vote for NATCA, to have an effective voice in bringing about improvements in working conditions at the FAA. The public also needs NATCA as a strong voice speaking out for improved safety conditions in the air traffic system.”
- ALPA President Howard Duffy: “Pilots and controllers are partners in professionalism, essential to maintaining America’s aviation system as the best and safest in the world.”
March 6-9, 1995 — NATCA Lobby Week:
More than 400 participants attend the union’s third annual such event.
March 1998 — Contract towers:
The U.S. District Court vacates its decision from 1994 allowing the FAA to contract out Level I towers. The FAA does not appeal this decision and, subsequently, NATCA seeks a court order requiring the agency to dismantle its contract program. Although the court denies the union’s motion, it orders the agency to determine whether ATC services are “inherently governmental” or a “commercial activity,” in which case they can be contracted out.
THIS MONTH IN LABOR HISTORY:
Susan B. Anthony, suffragist, abolitionist, labor activist, is born in Adams, Mass.
Legendary labor leader and socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs becomes charter member and secretary of the Vigo Lodge, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. Five years later he leads the national union and, in 1893, helps found the nation’s first industrial union, the American Railway Union.
Birth of John Steinbeck in Salinas, CA. Steinbeck is best known for writing “The Grapes of Wrath,” which exposed the mistreatment of migrant farm workers during the Depression and led to some reforms.
Thirty-eight miners die in a coalmine explosion in Boissevain, Va.
450 Woolworth’s workers and customers occupy store for eight days in support of Waiters and Waitresses Union, Detroit.
U.S. legislators pass the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, providing funds for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which funneled money to states plagued by Depression-era poverty and unemployment, and oversaw the subsequent distribution and relief efforts.
The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) expels the Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers; the Food, Tobacco & Agricultural Workers; and the United Office & Professional Workers for “Communist tendencies.” Other unions expelled for the same reason (dates uncertain): Fur and Leather Workers, the Farm Equipment Union, the International Longshoremen’s Union, and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.