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NATCA Update: From the desk of NATCA President Rich Santa

Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for trusting me to serve as NATCA president, a term which I proudly begin today. The last 18 months have been challenging for all of us personally and professionally, and for us collectively as a Union. In a typical year, we would have met for our Biennial Convention, Communicating For Safety, and NATCA in Washington. I would have traveled to many of our facilities to introduce myself and have valuable conversation as part of the campaign. Unfortunately, none of that has been possible due to the pandemic. Therefore, I want to express my sincere gratitude to you here for all the hard work you have done during the pandemic and acknowledge the challenges you’ve faced at home and work during this difficult time.

I have served in many capacities for our Union, from FacRep to national workgroups and regional vice president. I have always tried to expand on our successes and evolve our processes to become more efficient and effective. That said, I recognize that no experience to this point could fully prepare me for the role of NATCA president. I am honored to serve the membership and act as your voice publicly and behind closed doors to improve upon and uphold the rights and benefits we enjoy as NATCA members. And I can promise you this: I will do everything I can to protect your safety and health, your rights at work, and our negotiated benefits, both as we fight this pandemic and as we emerge from it.

I cannot succeed alone. NATCA, like all unions, is only as strong as our solidarity. I look forward to working closely with Andrew LeBovidge as our incoming executive vice president. Together, we will rely on the NATCA National Executive Board, our regional leadership teams, our national committees, NATCA staff, your locally elected leaders, and you, the membership. We cannot do what we need to do without your involvement. I want an opportunity to understand your concerns, represent your needs, and ultimately earn your ongoing support. I will embark on a member engagement campaign. To me, every voice matters. Hearing from NATCA’s members will be vital to continuing to develop new solutions to our common challenges. I want to hear your voice to help achieve those ends.

When we talk about our past successes, we must learn from those who helped achieve them. A special thank you to Paul Rinaldi for his historically successful 12 years as NATCA president and three years as executive vice president (EVP), and Trish Gilbert for her 12 years as EVP. Paul and Trish established collaboration with the FAA, built new partnerships with the aviation industry, and made us a powerhouse in organized labor both legislatively and politically. Paul set the tone with his strategic and deliberative style while always maintaining his sights on the big picture.

While honoring their service to and recognizing accomplishments on behalf of our great Union, we must continue growing NATCA and look for ways to address the challenges facing our members and the National Airspace System. Together, we will build upon our Union’s recent successes and work to make NATCA even stronger.

Again, I thank you for your support and your trust. And I repeat my hope that you will bring your ideas forward to improve our Union. Please feel free to send me your thoughts, concerns, and questions to leadership@natca.org.

In Solidarity,

Rich Santa

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