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We the People will join together in Philadelphia, our nation’s birthplace, labor’s heartbeat, the city of brotherly love, home of the 2018 Super Bowl Champions, the newly-crowned 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions, the famous Philly Cheesesteak, Rocky, Benjamin Franklin, and NATCA’s 17th Biennial Convention.

Our founding fathers first envisioned what this nation could be here in Philadelphia, and the city is where they created and signed the documents that would determine how the United States is governed. Our country was formed in this city on the then-radical principles of democracy and freedom. The founding fathers were visionaries for their time, and they understood that society would progress and that changes would be necessary. Because of their foresight, the United States Constitution is a living document that has undergone many changes and amendments since it was ratified in 1788, allowing for continued societal progress.

In the same way, the NATCA Constitution is a living document. Every two years, we come together to discuss issues vital to our Union and make any changes the convention body deems necessary to ensure a strong future for our workforce and the National Airspace System. That is our task this week as we continue to strive for greatness.

Each day, we will highlight a portion of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. Day one focuses on “We the People.” As delegates, you are the voice of the NATCA membership, and it is your responsibility to represent your membership to the convention body. The work that you do here this week is essential to ensuring that this Union is of the people, by the people, and for the people that it represents.

NATCA’s primary purpose is to protect and “Promote the General Welfare” of our members. On day two, we will discuss many of the ways in which NATCA promotes your welfare through legislative work, staffing programs, professionalism, labor relations, safety and technology initiatives, collaboration, and more. We have dozens of classes and breakouts scheduled throughout the week that will highlight these topics and others and help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of the ways NATCA supports you and the membership, as well as provide strategies to tackle some of the day-to-day issues that you face.

Finally, day three really sums up what Convention is all about, “To Form a More Perfect Union.” For the last three decades, NATCA members have constantly worked to make NATCA a more perfect Union. Our work in Philadelphia this week and throughout the year should always be with that goal in mind. It takes every one of us contributing our ideas, hard work, time, and enthusiasm to push our Union forward.

After convention business hours this week, we hope you’ll join us at the evening events that will allow us to grow and strengthen the bonds of the NATCA family. The opening reception will take place at the National Constitution Center, where you can learn about the history of the United States’ Constitution and participate in a scavenger hunt hosted by the Legislative Committee on the Convention App. On Wednesday, the NATCA Charitable Foundation will host a solidarity night at the Eastern State Penitentiary benefiting several local charities. You will all have a chance to spend time with your regions on Thursday night, and on Friday, we will host a truly special closing banquet at the historic Reading Terminal Market.

Philadelphia is a city of strong unions and rich labor history. Unions have risen and fought here on the principles of fair wages, safe working conditions for every worker, and the fundamental right to bargain with a collective voice. As we discuss the issues facing NATCA today and learn from one another, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us in the fight for equality, progress, and workers’ rights. This week will be a time to reflect on the great strides we have made as a country, but also as a Union, and the possibilities of where we can go from here.

Thank you for joining us in the nation’s birthplace this week to represent your facilities’ membership, and to strengthen this great Union.