Post-Election Message to Membership
Friday, November 05, 2010

Brothers and Sisters,

Tuesday's election results shifted the balance of power in Congress. Republicans have gained control of the House and the Democrats have retained control of the Senate, albeit with a much smaller majority. NATCA lost many good friends and allies during this election. All of them will be missed, but none more so than organized labor and NATCA’s biggest champion, Chairman Jim Oberstar. His vast knowledge of aviation and transportation issues, stalwart support, the dogged determination with which he advocated for labor, and his unrelenting pursuit of what is right for working men and women in this country will be sorely missed.

The hard reality is that pendulums swing. The true test of a strong, cohesive NATCA is the zeal with which we will collectively continue to move our organization forward. We will also continue to capitalize on the opportunities to improve the lives of our members. We refuse to concede defeat or feel sorry for ourselves. Rather, we will hold our heads high and know that we are right on message, commitment and dedication. Furthermore, if those who oppose us don’t see that, they will soon be proven wrong. The solid, credible work of our members speaks for itself. All reasonable opponents will quickly realize the ally they have in NATCA and work with us to make the NAS better and safer every day.

For those of you who remember our Reclass efforts, you know that it took this Union eight years to see it become a reality. Just as we did not give up on Reclass, we will continue to work persistently until our Title 49 fix becomes law and we ensure fair collective bargaining rights for our future contract negotiations.

Throughout NATCA’s 23-year history, we have had a legislative agenda. We have worked and succeeded with legislative issues under Democrat and Republican presidents and Democrat and Republican Congresses. Our issues are truly bipartisan and safety is our top priority. We are the stewards of the NAS and our true, vested interest in the success and modernization of our aviation system is without question. These issues and our concerns transcend politics and resonate with representatives on both sides of the aisle.

So, rather than seeing Tuesday as a defeat, we view it as merely another change in working conditions. As air traffic controllers and aviation safety professionals, we have to adapt our professional lives on a daily basis. And so we will with our legislative efforts as well. We’ll adjust. We’ll adapt. And we’ll move forward.

Surely, we will face new challenges with the 112th Congress. We expect attacks on federal employees and federal sector unions, but rest assured we are prepared. All indications are that cost cutting will be a top priority for the next Congress. We will remain vigilant and work to mitigate the effects those cuts may have not only on NATCA members, but on the safety of the NAS. We will, as we always have, work hard in the field and on Capitol Hill to educate the new members of Congress on our issues.

Your legislative team members – your leadership, your National Legislative Committee, and your Government Affairs staff – are already up off the mat, making adjustments and moving forward. We are going to finish this Title 49 fight, address the new issues that come up and look to the future so our legislative agenda always meets the needs of our members and the NAS.

We owe that effort to our membership. We owe that effort to the flying public. And we owe that effort to Chairman Oberstar. Our champion has been with us each step of the way, leading the fight, staying true to the cause and driving us toward the goal line. Chairman Oberstar stood strong for us because he believed so completely in us, and in our cause. We now we owe it to him to finish the work he started.

Brothers and sisters, dust yourselves off, hold your heads high, and let’s work our Title 49 fix through to the end and continue to work on our other legislative endeavors. Our solidarity, our unity, and our collective spirit have seen this Union through good and bad, each time succeeding and rising to new heights. And, together, we will succeed this time as well.

Stay strong, stay united, and thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and given so much to advance our legislative and political agenda.

In Solidarity,

Paul Rinaldi

Trish Gilbert
Executive Vice President

Steve Weidner
National Legislative Committee Chairman

Jose Ceballos
Director of Government Affairs

Below are pictures of NATCA activists from across the country displaying their legislative efforts during the 2010 campaign season:

 Above: Members and their families show support for Rep. Larry Kissell,
 D-N.C., at a local Labor Day parade.

Above (from left to right): Lyle Clingman (EUG FacRep), Rick Olson (EUG),
Dan Potts (EUG) and Ron Moen (EUG) with EVP Trish Gilbert in Oregon.

Above (from left to right): Devin Carlisto (ZSE), Denise Loftin Spencer (ZSE),
James Darlington (ZSE), Chris McKeever (retired member) and Bob Knowles
(retired member) show support for Sen. Patty Murray.


Above: NATCA members get supplies ready for Get
Out the Vote!

Above (from left to right): Congressman John Garamendi,
Candidate Dr. Ami Bera and NATCA member Ron McAuley
(NCT) at the Bera CA-3 campaign headquarters on Nov. 1.