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Karena Marinas: New OSHA Committee Chair

As longtime Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Committee Chair Mike Odryna (Boston Center, ZBW) retires in March after a 35-year career in the FAA, Los Angeles Center (ZLA) member Karena Marinas will take on the role of leading the committee in making sure NATCA members are safe in the workplace and well-represented.

Marinas joined the OSHA Committee in 2011 after serving as the safety rep at ZLA and wanted to continue to grow her activism in NATCA. When then-Western Pacific (NWP) Regional Vice President Ham Ghaffari put a regional solicitation out to the NWP membership for a position on the OSHA committee, Marinas figured it was a good fit and a great way to serve.

“I had a little background in workers’ compensation from a previous job, and had a little exposure to OSHA as a result; but that was the extent of my knowledge,” Marinas said. “What I felt I could really bring to the table was a willingness to learn and serve our membership.”

One of the challenges of serving as an OSHA rep, Marinas explained, is that FacReps often have minimal knowledge about OSHA and why air traffic controllers should or would care.

“For this reason, I like to point out that we controllers can’t do our job safely or efficiently, if the environment we are working in is unsafe and unhealthy,” Marinas said. “We need our health and surroundings to be as optimal as possible to do the best job we can. That will allow us to safely move airplanes without interruption.”

From emergency evacuation procedures, to electrical and fire safety hazards, Marinas is dedicated to ensuring NATCA members are safe and healthy in their places of work.

Marinas is also proud to point out that unions are the reason workers can expect safe and healthy working conditions in the first place. Organizing workers to fight for safe and healthy workplaces was one of the founding principles of the labor movement. It is the right of working Americans to have a safe working environment.

“NATCA takes that seriously, and our committee is here to help make sure that is a continued effort,” Marinas said. “I’m honored and excited to take over for Mike. He has worked so incredibly hard to form relationships within the FAA and Air Traffic Organization to ensure we all have the representation we deserve.”

“Karena brings a tremendous energy, not only in her understanding about safety, but in her willingness to learn and ensure FacReps and bargaining unit members understand what their rights are and making sure that we can be a good resource,” Odryna said. “She’s extremely passionate.”

Having been a NATCA member since 1989, Odryna has represented the New England Region on OSHA matters since 1997 and has chaired the committee since 2004. At NATCA’s 2018 Biennial Convention in Philadelphia, Odryna was honored with the Tim Haines Memorial Award of Honor and Distinction. The award cited Odryna’s tireless work for safe drinking water and air quality compliance with all OSHA standards and regulations and full compliance with our contractual language on OSHA, which is Article 53 in the Slate Book, Purple Book, and Light Blue book CBAs.

Odryna’s passion for safety and health also extended into heart health, as he led NATCA’s efforts to expand the number and use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Under Odryna’s leadership, the OSHA committee began annually honoring a facility with the Helping Hearts Award to recognize notable achievement in the training of employees in using AEDs.

“I intend to serve NATCA as whole heartedly as I can and continue the amazing work Mike has accomplished,” Marinas said. “I appreciate him so greatly for all he has done and think we all owe him a great debt for the passion and work he has put in on our behalf.”

Learn more about OSHA in the upcoming webinar on March 27 at 1 p.m. EDT. Register here: https://form.jotform.com/72296020784155

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