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NATCA Statement on Transportation Secretary-Designee Ray LaHood - (12/19/2008)

CONTACT:  Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NATCA President Patrick Forrey released the following statement today following President-elect Barack Obama's announcement of U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., as his transportation secretary designee:

"I am looking forward to sitting down with Secretary-designee LaHood as soon as possible to discuss the issues that are of critical importance to the air traffic controller and FAA aviation safety professional workforces.

“At the top of the list is the urgency to resolve our contract dispute with the FAA, followed by the disastrous state of labor relations and declining margin of safety that has defined the outgoing FAA leadership's legacy as a total failure. This is arguably the most anti-labor agency in all of government. Secretary-designee LaHood will have the very tall task of rebuilding an agency that long ago lost the confidence of its front-line safety workforce. Our nation’s aviation safety professionals must never again be treated as the enemy if we are to work together to overhaul our aviation infrastructure, provide a crucial economic stimulus and move toward a brighter future.

“During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, President-elect Obama's commitment to aviation safety was steadfast and his commitment to the fair treatment of safety professionals at the FAA was unyielding. The rapidly diminishing morale within the FAA workforce is undermining our nation's ability to retain the safest aviation system in the world. Labor peace at the FAA is the first order of business to set a course for increased aviation safety, efficiency, and modernization.”

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