This Senseless Government Shutdown Makes Even Less Sense, End the Shutdown Now

WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) issued the following statement about the “Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019,” after the President signed it into law today. The law guarantees back pay to federal employees affected by the lapse in appropriations following the conclusion of the partial government shutdown.

NATCA’s President Paul Rinaldi stated:

NATCA applauds the Senate, the House, and the President for enacting this law that guarantees back pay to federal employees affected by the shutdown. With clear bipartisan support for doing the right thing - paying all employees after the shutdown ends - this senseless government shutdown makes even less sense. There is no reason to keep employees home and furloughed now that they are guaranteed their pay. Our elected leaders need to be responsible stewards of American taxpayer dollars and end this shutdown immediately. 

This protracted government shutdown is eroding the layers of redundancy and support necessary to maintain the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS). Approximately, 3,000 NATCA-represented aviation safety professionals are furloughed as a result of the shutdown, and their critical safety work isn’t getting done. Many safety activities that proactively reduce risk and increase the safety of the NAS have been suspended. The National Airspace System is less safe today than before the shutdown began.

The National Airspace System has already been dramatically affected by what has become the longest government shutdown in history. If this shutdown continues, it will further erode the system’s capacity, resulting in more flight delays.

The effects of the shutdown are being felt by both big and small businesses and their employees across the nation, including America’s airlines, manufacturers of aviation equipment and technology, government contractors, and the millions of small businesses that provide goods and services to the federal employees affected by the shutdown, both those furloughed and those working without pay.

The Senate must act. End the shutdown today. Allow furloughed employees to return to work and pay all federal workers.

MORE INFORMATION: Doug Church, Deputy Director of Public Affairs; 301-346-8245, dchurch@natcadc.org.

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is a labor union and aviation safety organization in the United States that represents nearly 20,000 highly skilled air traffic controllers, engineers, and other aviation safety-related professionals. NATCA was certified in 1987 by the Federal Labor Relations Authority to be the exclusive bargaining representative for air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Today, NATCA is one of the strongest labor unions in the federal sector and represents a range of aviation safety professionals in 15 FAA bargaining units, 4 Department of Defense air traffic facilities, and 102 federal contract towers. These air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals make vital contributions to the U.S. economy and make modern life possible by coordinating the safe, orderly, and expeditious movement of nearly one billion aviation passengers and millions of tons of freight within the National Airspace System each year. NATCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.