WPCNR WASHINGTON WIRE. From the NATCA. January 20, 2018:
National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert issued a statement this morning condemning the shutdown of the federal government now underway, calling it the clearest proof that the status quo is broken, and a stable, predictable funding stream for the National Airspace System is essential:
“A government shutdown harms the National Airspace System (NAS). Employees, such as air traffic controllers, who are required to work during the shutdown don’t know when they will receive their next paycheck. They cannot be paid until the government is again able to expend funds.
“Making matters worse, these employees won’t have the support for them and their team that is so important in making the system work well. While all NATCA members perform duties that are critical and essential to the NAS, more than 3,000 NATCA-represented employees have been furloughed.
These furloughed members work across our bargaining units at air traffic control and other FAA facilities. They are among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees negatively affected by the government shutdown. When these professionals are prohibited from working as a result of political brinksmanship, the flying public and the NAS suffer.
“Whether the shutdown lasts one hour, one day, one week, or more, it 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, and the timely implementation of NextGen modernization projects.
The NAS continues to be challenged by the lack of a stable, predictable funding stream. 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 29-year low of certified professional controllers.
“We will not rest until Congress ends the shutdown. In the long term, we will continue to advocate for the kind of change that will ensure the NAS has a stable, predictable funding stream for years to come.”