Paul Rinaldi and Trish Gilbert Team Update, May 2021: Moving Forward With Increasing Momentum
Brothers and Sisters:
A year ago, each new day gave us another blow of bad news. But now, we are moving forward with increasing momentum as our country steadily and surely beats back this awful pandemic with vaccinations and cautious steps. Our immediate future looks more than promising, and the potential for exceeding expectations is high. As AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said this week, “We are not looking to get back to normal. We are going to build back better with unions.”
As the country goes, so goes NATCA. Throughout the pandemic, we have remained focused on keeping our members safe and our National Airspace System (NAS) moving. Finally, we have an opportunity to also scan our horizon and assess where we are and where we need to go. We have planned a course of action that leads us into an exciting period of a smooth and seamless transition to our Union’s newly-elected leaders, President-Elect Rich Santa, and Executive Vice President-Elect Andrew LeBovidge, and our new National Executive Board (NEB) this September.
NATCA’s advocacy efforts have continued throughout the pandemic. This morning (Tuesday, May 18), at 11 a.m. EDT, Paul will participate in a congressional roundtable hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure (T & I) Aviation Subcommittee. This roundtable, titled, “Final Approach: An Update on ATC Modernization” will focus on the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). During his opening remarks, along with discussing NATCA’s NextGen priorities, Paul will highlight the urgent need for robust authorization funding levels for ATC facility upgrades (a top NATCA priority) in the upcoming infrastructure bill. Paul also will talk about the importance of a stable, predictable funding stream for the FAA and the National Airspace System, as well as update the committee on ATC staffing. The roundtable will be live streamed through the T & I Committee. All NATCA members are invited to watch. You can watch it here.
In August, we are proud and relieved to finally convene our supreme convention body for the 18th Biennial Convention in Houston (Aug. 10-12). Registration is open, as is our room block at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston. We hope you will be able to join us if your schedule allows. While we plan full coverage through a live stream and news reports on our website, in NATCA’s social media, and our member publications, we are excited to renew our relationships with our members in person and address the many issues that will come before the supreme body. In addition to the solidarity events planned by the Houston Convention Organizing Committee, we will also get the wonderful opportunity to honor our 2020 Archie League Medal of Safety Award winners.
The following month, Sept. 27-29, we will return to Las Vegas to bring together our members, along with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and leaders of the aviation community to discuss an array of safety and modernization topics at Communicating For Safety (CFS). We’re working to fill the agenda with engaging panels and again make this the best safety conference on the aviation calendar. We’ll also honor the 2021 Archie League Medal of Safety Award winners. Registration for CFS opens on June 2.
On Oct. 4-6, we will host NATCA in Washington at the Marriott Marquis near our National Office in northwest Washington, D.C. Our important legislative grassroots efforts have continued in earnest, albeit virtually, during the pandemic. The chance to meet again with our NATCA activists in person for training and legislative outreach will be invigorating, with an opportunity to chart our path forward through increasing the size and strength of the NATCA Majority in Congress.
These are still long days, working to ensure our members have safe work environments in which to continue to keep passengers, cargo, and the COVID-19 vaccine moving safely and effectively. But the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, and we see even brighter days ahead. Together, we will continue to grow this Union into a stronger and more cohesive organization that works for all of us. The opportunity to once again meet in person is exciting, and we are truly honored to represent you.
Executive Vice President