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FAA Walks Out On Contract Talks With Air Traffic Controllers - (4/5/2006)

Contacts: Alex Slater/Sam Hiersteiner
Number: 202 337 0808
aslater@gloverparkgroup.com
shiersteiner@gloverparkgroup.com

Washington - Contract talks between the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Federal Aviation Administration, which broke down last week over economic proposals, have officially concluded with the FAA walking out of the negotiations and declaring impasse after rejecting an offer that would have saved taxpayers $1.4 billion. The agency is expected to send the contract to Congress almost immediately, failing to solicit the union’s formal objections as required by law.

As first reported by NATCA late last week, the parties held a very brief meeting on Tuesday night in order to exchange new proposals on pay. NATCA’s proposal included a revised offer meeting goals described by the FAA administrator in discussions with NATCA this weekend. The proposal maintains previous levels of taxpayer savings, estimated at over $1.4 billion. Unfortunately, the FAA was not prepared to engage in meaningful discussion - the meeting, held at approximately 10 pm Eastern time, was characterized by one union participant as lasting no more than five minutes, the majority of which was spent by NATCA discussing its proposal.

The parties met again on Wednesday in a formal session to exchange typewritten proposals and to read statements into the record. No bargaining of any kind took place. While the union invited FMCS mediators to join the meeting and observe the proceedings – a request the agency originally agreed to – no formal mediation took place. The union, in consultation with the mediator, made a formal request to continue talks under the auspices of federal mediation, but that offer was rejected by the agency. The FAA in effect walked out on federally mediated talks aimed at reaching a voluntary agreement.

As of this date, the parties have concluded all meetings and no further meetings, mediations or negotiating sessions are planned.


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