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NATCA Marks 35 Years Since Historic First Contract with FAA

In May 1989, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) celebrated the ratification of their first collective bargaining agreement. This landmark contract, approved by a decisive 84 percent of union members, marked a significant turning point as the first time a union representing air traffic controllers and the FAA reached a collective bargaining agreement after the PATCO strike and subsequent decertification. Key provisions included mandatory breaks, immunity for reporting errors, and involvement in NTSB investigations, establishing a framework for improved working conditions and stronger union representation. NATCA also successfully bargained regional representatives 50 percent official time off to conduct union representational duties.

The foundations laid by the dedicated NATCA founders and activists have continued to evolve, building a Union to further strengthen and expand the rights of aviation safety professionals, solidifying NATCA’s role as a powerful advocate for its members.This anniversary not only commemorates a pivotal moment in labor history but also reflects on decades of progress in aviation safety operations and advocacy.

Read more about NATCA’s history on our website.

Learn more about your National Historical Committee.

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