Three months after the Obama administration opened the door for mediation in contract negotiations between the Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the two sides reached a landmark tentative agreement late last week.
In May, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the Obama administration was appointing mediators to settle the dispute.
In 2006, the Bush administration’s FAA rejected NATCA’s call for mediation to settle a contract and walked away from the bargaining table. The agency then imposed a set of work rules and wage cuts that have driven controllers out of the towers. Because of the deplorable work environment, more than 2,600 controllers have left the FAA, creating a shortage of experienced controllers and threatening aviation safety. continue reading

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