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EdMullin

Ed Mullin is pictured above, second from right. Barry Krasner is fifth from left.

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Reflections on the Life and Career of Barry Krasner

By Ed Mullin
Retired charter member
Southwest Regional Vice President Emeritus; NSW Regional Rep from 1986-88, NSW RVP from 1988-94, worked on special projects including Chapter 71, pay reclassification and cost of living differential.

On Aug. 28, I had the privilege of attending the National Office-hosted Celebration of Life for Barry Krasner, NATCA’s President Emeritus and one of our founding charter members who passed away in July.

I was captured by the calm that Barry’s wife, Sallie, exhibited, as she spoke to a crowded room about her late husband. I’ll never forget the grace and compassion with which she offered her remarks as she pushed back some tears. As friends, colleagues, and family offered their reflections to all those in attendance, I sat still, listening carefully to all that was said, by so many. It seemed that I could offer nothing more, so I did not.

But now I can. Barry and I met in early 1986, and I worked with him after NATCA’s 1987 Federal Labor Relations Authority certification, and on several NATCA National Executive Boards and special projects thereafter. He had a great gift for being able to parse very complicated issues, and then explain the issue and its parts in an understandable fashion. He possessed an even greater gift in attending to the political side of these issues, and I mean “political” in the positive sense as well.

At the end of the day, our issues were always about people, and any viable solution to any problem had to intimately involve the political aspects. Unions, by definition, have tons of politics. The FAA did as well. Barry understood this truth very well.

We joked often late at night, about what I termed my “come to Jesus moment” – labor organizing in the 1980s, in post-PATCO America, in the Reagan era, in the Bible Belt. He would laugh when I reminded him that I was “bi-cultural” – having grown up outside of Philadelphia and now living in Texas – and that I could handle it.

I dearly valued our long discussions on forming NATCA, and what we were all trying so hard to achieve. We knew that we were standing on the shoulders of all those who came before. We were trying desperately to create something meaningful, and something that would last, something that would really benefit real people. Barry shared a keen love and respect for the job, and most especially, for the people who did the job.

Barry Krasner was most certainly the man for our season, in the late 80s and early 90s. His mark on NATCA, and on the people involved, is truly indelible, and one that his wife and his family can revisit often, with so many, and with immeasurable pride.

I shall miss you Barry.

Ed Mullin, NATCA