NATCA Grateful for End of Shutdown and Hopeful for a
Long-Term Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON – The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) issued the following
statement about the agreement to temporarily end the shutdown and reopen the government.
NATCA’s President Paul Rinaldi stated:
After 35 days of this senseless government shutdown, we are grateful and relieved that
the President and Congress reached an agreement to temporarily end the shutdown and
reopen the government through February 15, 2019. We are hopeful for a long-term
appropriations bill. The air traffic controllers and other aviation safety professionals
represented by NATCA can continue to ensure the safety of the National Airspace
System (NAS) and the flying public, without worrying about their next paycheck.
Today’s agreement is due, in large part, to the tireless activism of NATCA’s members
since the shutdown began. We express our deepest gratitude to NATCA members who
continued to work for the past 35 days despite the stress caused by the shutdown.
NATCA also recognizes the sacrifices made by those other aviation safety professionals
who were furloughed.
We want to thank all aviation industry stakeholders for their efforts to end the shutdown
and specifically acknowledge the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and Air Line
Pilots Association (ALPA) for their solidarity during the longest government shutdown in
Although the news today is positive, we must not lose focus on the short-term nature of
this agreement, and the need to continue to make our voice heard to avoid another
shutdown on February 15, 2019.
This 35-day shutdown reinforces our strong belief that the status quo is broken. The
NAS requires a stable, predictable funding stream in order to adequately support air
traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization projects,
preventative maintenance, ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure,
integration of new entrants, and the timely implementation of NextGen modernization
projects. The constant funding crises that arise from stop-and-go funding continue to
wreak havoc on our system and perpetuate the current staffing crisis, which has resulted
in a 30-year low of certified professional controllers.
We remain hopeful that today’s agreement will lead to a long-term appropriations bill that
prevents another senseless shutdown.
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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.