For the first time in more than three years, the nation’s National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has been cleared to land a fair contract with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Yesterday, 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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