Labor Day 2020 Message From Paul Rinaldi and Trish Gilbert
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It’s almost incomprehensible how our lives – and the world – have changed since Labor Day 2019.
We gathered at parades and picnics, without masks or worrying about distancing ourselves. We sat shoulder to shoulder at baseball games, cheering on our favorite teams. We prepared to host more than 1,000 members at our Communicating For Safety conference in Las Vegas at a time when the National Airspace System was busy and planes were packed.
Coinciding with Labor Day 2019, we also kicked off a major new successful organizing campaign called The NATCA Collective. We told you that we have so much more power through the collective strength of our Union. We didn’t know then that our collective strength – and that of our fellow unions in the aviation and transportation sector – would be tested like never before.
We’ve faced many challenges before, but nothing quite like 2020. Our nation is in upheaval on three fronts: the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis that has also devastated aviation around the world, and the fight for racial justice.
This Labor Day, NATCA joins all of organized labor in pausing to remember the union brothers and sisters who have passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes one of our own NATCA members at our represented Federal Contract Tower in Key West, Fla., Michael King. Several of our members have also lost family members and friends to this awful virus.
It is essential workers, represented by organized labor, who are tending to our nation’s needs during this difficult time. It will be union members who bring our economy back once we are out of this crisis.
We stand in solidarity with our fellow U.S. aviation unions in urging Congress to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program to prevent significant layoffs in our industry. Each day brings more bad news from aviation labor, both here in this country and around the world. Many airlines have announced layoffs, and we fear the month of September will bring more difficult times to many of our aviation brothers and sisters. The global aviation industry has experienced more than 350,000 job losses in the past six months and that number could reach a half-million by the end of this year.
It breaks our heart and it is hard to truly comprehend how quickly our aviation system has changed.
But in times like these, you need a stable, steady hand to guide your career and your profession. You need a family of like-minded professionals to support you and offer a helping hand if you need it. You need a Union. Today, on Labor Day, it is more important than ever to remind you that your Union is that stable, steady hand. Our solidarity is our strength, and we need you now more than ever. Labor Day affords us the opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions that working men and women make to our nation, our economy, and our collective prosperity.
NATCA is proud to represent 20,000 essential aviation safety professionals who have operated the safest, most efficient airspace in the world during this pandemic. It hasn’t been easy. We know that. Our mission has been to protect your health, first and foremost.
We are also extremely grateful to the front-line health care professionals who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much. So many of you have contributed your money and your time in expressing your gratitude. Last year, other unions supported our members when we worked without pay through the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history. Now, our members have paid it forward by providing meals to hospital workers and first responders in over 50 cities.
Labor unions also support their members in their times of need. For example, our Disaster Response Committee has been on scene in Louisiana and eastern Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. NATCA member volunteers have come in to help their fellow members in Lake Charles and surrounding areas, offering clean-up help, repairs, supplies, and, most importantly, comfort. More on that later in this update.
Brothers and Sisters, we will get through all of this – together. We wish you a happy and a safe Labor Day.
Paul and Trish