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NATCA Remembers Rep. Alcee L. Hastings as a Champion of Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today joins the nation and Florida’s 20th Congressional District in mourning the passing of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, a courageous and outspoken leader who endeared himself to the aviation safety professionals in Florida and across the country by taking forceful public stands at a time when they needed someone in Congress to support them.

In 2009, NATCA honored Congressman Hastings with the James L. Oberstar Sentinel of Safety Award. It is the Union’s highest honor for aviation leaders outside NATCA who have displayed outstanding achievement in the advancement of aviation safety. Before receiving his award, Congressman Hastings spoke out on behalf of South Florida NATCA members who, while working under imposed work and pay rules, believed safety was being threatened by a series of airspace and technology issues. Congressman Hastings opposed FAA’s unilateral efforts to relocate and reorganize some facilities in Florida, believing that facility relocation and reorganization as well as technological development was best addressed in a collaborative environment. He spoke passionately about those issues both publicly and at NATCA’s annual legislative conference.

“Congressman Hastings was truly a champion for NATCA, both nationally and locally and we are saddened by his passing,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “He knew how important it was for NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to work together in collaboration to address important safety issues even before a collaborative relationship was made possible through fairly negotiated collective bargaining agreements beginning in 2009. NATCA and the FAA have been successful in addressing these issues collaboratively over the past decade. Congressman Hastings used his words and his legislative actions to demand accountability and ensure oversight and transparency.”

Congressman Hastings also introduced legislation (H.R. 5431) that paved the way to provide the same paid parental leave to FAA employees that is available to other government employees. He also fought for full funding for the FAA, a topic that NATCA has consistently emphasized. He was a true champion for aviation safety workers and that’s how we will remember him.

MORE INFORMATION: Doug Church, Deputy Director of Public Affairs; 301-346-8245, dchurch@natcadc.org.

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is a labor union and aviation safety organization in the United States that represents nearly 20,000 highly skilled air traffic controllers, engineers, and other aviation safety-related professionals. NATCA was certified in 1987 by the Federal Labor Relations Authority to be the exclusive bargaining representative for air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Today, NATCA is one of the strongest labor unions in the federal sector and represents a range of aviation safety professionals in 15 FAA bargaining units, 5 Department of Defense air traffic facilities, and 116 federal contract towers. These air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals make vital contributions to the U.S. economy and make modern life possible by coordinating the safe, orderly, and expeditious movement of nearly one billion aviation passengers and millions of tons of freight within the National Airspace System each year. NATCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.