WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 U.S. history.
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.
SOURCE National Air Traffic Controllers Association