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Happy 27th Anniversary NATCA! Reflections From Facility Representatives

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“As NATCA reaches its 27th anniversary, we find an organization that has moved beyond the fits and starts of infancy and the awkwardness of its adolescence and is fully ensconced in a vibrant maturity. NATCA has carefully cultivated a sterling reputation that has proven invaluable in promoting a better professional environment for the thousands of men and women across a multitude of bargaining units. The passion, knowledge, and dedication of NATCA members have lifted our organization into a position of unrivaled respect throughout the aviation community and serve as a strong foundation for success as we enter the next chapter of aviation history.”
-Andrew LeBovidge, ZHU – NSW

“I think that NATCA celebrating its 27th anniversary is a tremendous accomplishment. With our short careers as air traffic controllers many of the great people who started and built the foundation of NATCA are on their way into retirement. I am honored to carry on the collective spirit that they passed along to those of us in leadership positions at FAA facilities. I want to say thank you to those who have spent long hours mentoring the future of NATCA and look forward to making this Union even better over the next 27 years. Where there is a will, NATCA finds a way!”
-Ben Madsen, RST – NGL

“I spent just over 14 years at ZFW before moving to D10 in 2006. I have seen so many styles of management in that time that it makes a head spin. One thing that has been consistent during that time is NATCA. NATCA is always a steady head, a steady hand, and a steady group of brothers and sisters that we can turn to when in need. This is what NATCA’s growth and strength have meant to me and I look forward to another 27 years of the same for NATCA.”
-Scott Montroy, D10 – NSW

“I think it is a great testament to our fortitude and resolve to stay strong through the tough times. That fortitude and resolve has only made us stronger as a union.”
-James Hall, C90 – NGL

“NATCA is celebrating its 27th anniversary and it seems like only yesterday. I also started my career 27 years ago, and have witnessed the changes and growth that our union has experienced in a very short period. This fantastic organization has grown to be the pre-eminent voice for air traffic in the world. As it grew to that level of professional status, it also achieved landmark gains in the world of public sector representation. NATCA has been one of the leaders in public sector negotiations and has achieved things such as the ability to negotiate pay and exemptions from sections of public law not heard of in this sector. While accomplishing these feats, it has grown in size and representational status, expanded the roles of public sector representation, and achieved levels of success that unions who have been around for far longer are still working steadfastly to achieve. I am extremely proud to be a part of this Union, a part of this industry, and look forward to the next challenges that we will face in solidarity. Happy Anniversary NATCA!”
Scott Conde, ZOA – NWP

“This anniversary is a time to reflect on the efforts of all of the hard working men and women who have sacrificed their time and used their talents to make NATCA the leader that it is within the aviation community. Without our members working collectively to achieve our common goals, we would not be where we are today. To see how NATCA has grown over the years gives me an immeasurable sense of pride. Without our Union standing up for the rights of our members, we would not have a voice to speak up when our interests are challenged. The strength and solidarity of our Union is second to none.”
Aaron Merrick, ZKC – NCE

“My first thought is wow! It seemed like yesterday and we were talking about the 25th anniversary. It amazes me, on a daily basis, how strong this Union is and the important work that NATCA is accomplishing. I read the updates and see how many Article 48 reps we have working on projects in the field. I see the legislative updates and see the political influence we have on the Hill. I read how we have a place on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and IFATCA. I look around my facility and see NATCA members involved in ERAM, training, service review teams, local safety council, and mentoring. It makes me realize just how much influence this Union has. It is such a sense of pride knowing we are doing it as a relatively small union. We are the little train that could and does on a daily basis. What this means for the future of NATCA and its members it the opportunities can be unlimited if we continue to grow at the pace we have grown in the past 27 years.”
Mike Thompson, ZMP – NGL

“I’m proud to have been a member of our great Union from our first anniversary to this, our 27th. With each year that passes, NATCA has improved and enriched our profession and the lives of our members. We have become influential in the aviation industry and are considered an important voice in formulating the future of ATC.

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come and have matured as a union over the past 27 years. Thanks to the pride and professionalism of our membership, NATCA is viewed as an integral member of the aviation community, with NATCA participating on national and international aviation panels. Our members interact with all levels of the Agency and influence the work we do and our profession. I’ve been very fortunate to be a representative of our Union for over 20 years, and in that time, I’ve seen many different versions of NATCA, with a front row seat to the changes. I’m very proud to be part of the union we are today. I know we will continue to grow, evolve, and improve, and I’m excited for our members to be part of the continued success of our Union and enjoying a union that they can be proud of as well. “
-Dean Iacopelli, N90 – NEA

“Wow. Seems like we just celebrated the 25th! I am so proud of NATCA. Twenty-seven years is fairly young, but we are maturing rapidly. Recent examples of this maturity can be seen in the way the pieces were picked up following the White Book. Our leadership noted the past and made choices to avoid being caught in the same old legislative and labor relation traps. The benefits of that foresight can be seen in our unprecedented collaboration with the Agency. The status of our profession, the safety of our industry, and the improvements to our equipment would not be possible or successful without that collaboration.”
-Brett Lystad, FAI – NAL

“NATCA has been part of my life for my entire career. It’s been my honor to serve my brothers and sisters at each of my three towers. I look back and take pride at how far we’ve come. What I think about is how bad things got under the White Book and how fast it happened. Thanks to Paul and Trish’s leadership, our Regional VPs, and all of the members who worked on our new CBA, we were able to bounce back even faster. I take pride in all the work being done by our member subject matter experts. I also am proud of our NATCA Academy. It’s time to teach the next generation of NATCA leaders so we can continue to grow and succeed. Live long and prosper, NATCA! Happy 27th Anniversary!”
-Mike Forman, CRW – NEA

“As an FAA controller for the past 27 years and eight years military before that, I have seen our working environment evolve immensely over the past 35 years. After leaving the military, I found myself in a para-militaristic environment in the FAA. There was still an aura of bitterness between management and the workforce. Then NATCA was formed, and after our first contract was in place, there grew a sense of having a say in our jobs that felt good! As NATCA grew over the years, so did the strength of our Union! At one point, I was one of only a couple dues-paying members at Cedar Rapids ATCT and last summer enjoyed displaying our 100 percent NATCA membership plaque! As FacRep for many of the past 27 years, I have seen a few hurdles to overcome, yet none that I could not accomplish with the support of my brothers and sisters of NATCA! I am proud of NATCA, and as my career comes to a close in the next three years, I reflect back that NATCA has made my life and career so much easier through their strong representation!”
Jerry Reichenbach, CID – NCE

“The anniversary allows us to recognize the folks who re-established our ability to unionize after the PATCO dismantling by President Reagan. Those pioneers gave us the chance to make our voices heard, not only towards our working conditions, but to give us the opportunity to affect safety since we are the ones who are applying those safety procedures. I appreciate the ability to make my brothers and sisters’ voices heard to management and shape the environment we work in. To all the charter members and leaders, thank you!”
Eric Silva, BOI – NNM

“NATCA turning 27 means that we are continuing to get stronger year after year. This happens through dedicated leadership (from top to bottom) and educating our members of skills needed to keep us strong in the years to come.”
Alex Ward, BED – NNE

“As I reflect on this 27th anniversary, it makes me proud to be an active part of this great organization. I remember one of the early Communicating for Safety conferences that I attended near the old Denver Stapleton Airport; there were less than 100 attendees. This event has grown to become the premier aviation safety conference in the world. This year’s event had over a thousand attendees from all over the world. NATCA has positioned itself as the industry leader in all things related to aviation safety. We are more involved now than ever in modernizing the National Airspace System, and our activists are ensuring the workforce has a product that is safe and will keep our system the safest, most efficient system in the world. The NATCA Academy training is second to none and offers a wide variety of courses in legislative activism, training, labor relations, arbitrations, or whatever you are looking to get involved in. It is very encouraging to see the next generation of NATCA activists stepping up and getting involved in this great Union! If we continue to stand united, I believe this Union will be a guiding force in not only aviation but in the house of labor as well.”
Scott Farrow, S56 – NNM

“I’ve been a NATCA member since 2001; I actually saw the benefit in being able to influence change in the work environment. I’m most proud of the family atmosphere that’s exhibited by the NATCA membership as a whole.”
Patrick Massie, ESW – Region X

“As we approach the 27th anniversary of NATCA, I am left thinking about what the NAS would look like without NATCA. Over the years, NATCA’s involvement in technical issues has grown. We have shown that whether it be ERAM, TAMR, DataComm, or a voice switch, without the involvement of the controller, these systems have little to no chance of success. As the years have passed, NATCA has gone from working with a flawed system at the end state, to mitigating the issues during deployment, to where we are now with a seat at the table during design. This has allowed the controller on the floor to have direct impact on the system that they won’t see in the field for three to five years. To that, I say thank you and Happy Birthday!”
-Scott Robillard, K90 – NNE

“Let me start by saying that I am truly proud to be a NATCA member. The fact that NATCA has stood strong for 27 years is amazing. The transition from the White Book to the current state is a testament to our brothers and sisters’ collective power. There is no question in my mind that every penny of my dues are put to great use. We are the best, and I have no doubt that we will continue that trend in the future. NATCA is my voice.”
Erick Goad, ANC – NAL

“NATCA. One word with so many meanings. Unity. Strength. Skill. Professionalism. Family. Solidarity. Our union has grown in ways that are barely recognizable, indescribable for our new members that haven’t experienced what we lived, the difference of what we knew then, and what we know now. Only through education and experience will our members be better for the past we lived.

“We have grown, together, to make NATCA stronger, better. We have grown into a collaborative effort with the FAA where working together often rights the wrongs and where we can be proud to know that we have the safest air traffic system in the world. Representing our members is not a job, it’s a choice I’ve made. A decision to stand behind what I believe in and make sure the rights override the wrongs.

“I am proud to be NATCA.
-Kevin Bianchi, ZBW – NNE

“I often wonder how NATCA’s first President, Steve Bell, and Executive Vice President Ray Spickler felt the day after the election. All the work to organize and all the work to set up the early structure done and yet the real work and very crucial decisions lay ahead. The direction they choose will set the tone for the foreseeable future. The pressure must have been immense. To hear Barry Krasner and Joe Bellino tell stories of the early days of organizing and hitting the road so hard they were sleeping in airports is humbling and I’m grateful for their sacrifices.

“A 27th anniversary to some wouldn’t seem too impressive compared to many of the labor unions in the U.S but to see the battles won over those years makes it impressive. Although most people remember that President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers most don’t know that NATCA was born while President Reagan was still in office, that’s impressive.

“Having attended seven NATCA in Washington events I believe the work done there is crucial to ensuring NATCA continues to celebrate anniversaries. I believe it’s critical to build a NATCA majority in Congress and to make ourselves available to members of Congress as subject matter experts when it comes to aviation issues. That work to build and maintain a good relationship with Congressional offices is a year-round venture and pays dividends to our future.

– Anthony Borgert, L30 – NWP

“Unfortunately, a lot like birthdays, the number 27 gets overshadowed by milestone-sounding numbers like 25 or 30. What 27 years says to me is: NATCA has been the collective voice for its members for over a quarter of a century and in that timeframe, NATCA has become an organization that sets the standard for professionalism and safety. That solid foundation has allowed it to grow into a pillar of necessity for technological advancement and development. I think NATCA’s vision will only bring more milestones of progress and innovation to the aviation industry for another quarter of a century.”

– Neil Caputo, ZME – NSO

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