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Flight Service Specialists in Alaska, at FAA Command Center, Vote to Be Represented By NATCA - (8/22/2008)

CONTACT:     Doug Church, 202-220-9802

WASHINGTON – NATCA has officially added a new group of Federal Aviation Administration employees to its list of bargaining units. Some 150 air traffic control specialists assigned to the flight service option at Automated Flight Service Stations, Flight Service Stations, and Flight Service Data Processing Systems sites located in Alaska and at the “Weather Unit” of the Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va., have voted to be represented by NATCA.

These employees had been represented by the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS). NAATS had previously represented a national unit of over 2,000 air traffic controllers but in 2005, all but the 150 remaining controllers lost their federal jobs when the FAA contracted their work out to Lockheed Martin.

NAATS leaders petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) in late 2007 requesting a change in affiliation from NAATS to NATCA for the employees they represented. NAATS conducted an election and 95 percent of ballots cast voted to change the exclusive representative to NATCA. The FLRA’s San Francisco Regional Director issued a Decision and Order Granting the Petition effective 60 days after June 20, 2008.

NAATS President Alan Baker said, “I did not want what happened to the Flight Service in the lower 48 to happen to us. I know that we are few in numbers, we had lost much of our ability to fight back and were vulnerable. I feel for myself, and for our people, better off as a NATCA member than as the NAATS President.”

Baker concluded, “I have the greatest respect for NATCA, its staff, and its National Executive Board. They are real, sincere, and honestly care for each other and are united beyond a doubt, true union qualities.”

Said NATCA President Patrick Forrey: “We are very excited and honored to welcome these dedicated aviation safety professionals into the NATCA family. This is a great day for our union and we look forward to representing these employees and growing the size and influence of our collective voices on issues of critical aviation safety importance.”

NATCA is the exclusive representative of over 14,000 air traffic controllers and controller trainees serving the FAA, Department of Defense and private sector. In addition, NATCA represents approximately 1,200 FAA engineers, 600 traffic management coordinators, 500 aircraft certification professionals, agency operational support staff, regional personnel from FAA’s logistics, budget, finance and computer specialist divisions, and agency occupational health specialists, nurses and medical program specialists.

“I am very pleased that our joint efforts to bring our unions together has been successful,” said NATCA Alaskan Regional Vice President Rick Thompson. “It’s a great day to have all agency air traffic controllers together within NATCA. As we move forward and speak with a unified voice on ATC issues and controllers’ concerns it can only make us stronger and more successful, both for our profession and for our families.”

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