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Congress-Induced FAA Shutdown Enters Week 2 - (7/29/2011)

As we went to print on this issue of the NATCA Insider, the partial shutdown of the FAA, caused by Congress’ inability to pass an FAA authorization extension before the previous extension expired July 22, was about to enter its second week with no immediate end in sight.

NATCA leadership, the staffs of both the Government Affairs and Communications Departments, and the Legislative Committee continued its work to educate members of Congress and the media and raise the volume on a crucially important issue that is competing with the debt ceiling crisis for the nation’s (and Capitol Hill’s) attention.

Here is a brief roundup since Wednesday's membership-wide update:


LATEST PRESS RELEASE (issued Thursday, July 28, and distributed nationwide using a wire service that increased its visibility):

NATCA Calls on Congress to Resolve FAA Stalemate before Leaving Town

WASHINGTON – Below is a statement from National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi, who urged lawmakers today to immediately pass an FAA extension. Rinaldi cautioned Congress not to leave for its upcoming August recess before passing an extension to restore the jobs of 4,000 laid-off FAA employees.

Of the 4,000, NATCA represents nearly 1,200 from its Engineers and Architects, FAA Airports Division and Aviation Technical Systems Specialists bargaining units. Also needing restoration are the tens of thousands of construction jobs that are part of shuttered air traffic control, airport and modernization projects that are critical to the safety and efficiency of the system.

“This FAA extension is a jobs bill and it directly impacts the lives of real people, skilled aviation professionals who play a vital role in the safety critical function of the FAA. For the sixth straight day, these hardworking men and women have been forced to face the real consequences of having been laid off and dealing without paychecks. They feel like pawns in this game and have no control over it.

“NATCA represents over a quarter of these workers. They are the men and women who maintain and inspect the facilities and equipment that provide the foundation for the safest and most efficient air traffic control system in the world. They are building and implementing the Next Generation Air Traffic Control system. They are non-partisan career civil servants who in many cases have spent more than two decades working to provide the public with safe, modern and efficient air travel in this country.

“The man who represents these laid-off employees in our affected bargaining units is himself a laid-off FAA engineer, Mike MacDonald. He, like the others who have been laid off, has a family, with many bills, mortgages, rents, student loans, and some have kids in college. This is a tremendous financial burden for them and it’s unfair and unacceptable that their lives have been turned upside down in this game of politics.

“These employees want to get back to work. They don’t want to engage in the blame game. They don’t want to see their elected officials pointing fingers at the other side of Capitol Hill. They just want to work. They want a paycheck.”

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CALL TO ACTION:

The hardworking aviation safety professionals of the FAA and their families should not be forced to pay the price for the inability of lawmakers in Washington to do the job they were elected to do.

Urge Congress to act NOW!

To send your message to your member of Congress, follow this link:
http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/5893/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2588

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TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY FIGHTS HARD FOR LAID-OFF WORKERS: Secy. LaHood went to the White House Thursday to join the daily press briefing and offer reporters an update on the FAA shutdown and raise the profile of the issue of the laid-off workers. The press conference was carried live by all the cable news networks. This online article from ABC News captures much of the secretary’s message:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/07/lahood-urges-congress-to-end-faa-shut-down.html 


GOOD EDITORIALS AROUND THE COUNTRY RAISING THE VOLUME ON THE ISSUE:
Here are a couple of examples:

“FAA shutdown / What incompetence" (Press of Atlantic City)
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/opinion/editorials/faa-shutdown-what-incompetence/article_f8a244bb-4411-523a-b6b2-2567d27fbf0d.html

"This Is Called ‘Small’ Government" (The New York Times)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/opinion/28thu2.html?_r=1&ref=opinion?ref=global-home 


NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK NEWS JOINING THE OUTCRY TOO:
This CBS Evening News piece from July 28 helped raise the national volume on the issue:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7374871n&tag=strip 


OTHER NOTABLE PRESS CLIPS THIS WEEK:

Associated Press
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015736351_apusaviationshutdown3rdldwritethru.html

Manchester Union-Leader (N.H.)
http://www.unionleader.com/article/20110726/NEWS06/707269963

Govexec.com
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0711/072511l1.htm 

Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-debt-deadline-nears-federal-employees-feel-anxiety/2011/07/25/gIQARcvXZI_print.html 

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Above/Below: At EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisc., NATCA calls for participation in the fight against FAA furloughs.


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