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ATC-NATCA-PrivatizationSo NATCA has endorsed Privatization legislation. Starting with first things, let’s talk about what NATCA is today – not NATCA from 1987, but NATCA today. I’ve got a NATCA gold card. I was on the first Executive Board of my facility. It’s been 29 years. Today’s NATCA is not the same as 1987 Natca. Maybe you could call today’s org NextGen-NATCA.

Look at the national staffing chart. Look at the 17 professional groups they represent – which includes both FAA Controllers and Contract Tower Controllers.

This isn’t NATCA from back in the day. It’s not simply a controller’s union. This is a diversified power structure.

Doug Church sent out a very nice letter explaining (in great detail) why this Privatization endorsement is legitimate, legal, and authorized by Conventions. Whenever your leadership quotes documents to explain that what they did to you is legal, you’ve been well and truly had.

Doug Church says NATCA lost the Contract Tower battle. Actually – NATCA didn’t lose the Contract Tower battle. NATCA (the organization) broke even – they represent the Contract Controllers in 76 facilities. NATCA is not all about FAA controllers; they’ve evolved and diversified.

The rhetoric about “needing to be at the table” isn’t persuasive to me. This is compromising your core constituency to make sure that your organization and your leaders will have a better economic future.

Similarly, NATCA won’t lose in the Remote Tower development. Those  tower controllers sitting in large ARTCC-type facilities will be NATCA dues-payers; they may not be FAA jobs.

Let’s recognize that NATCA’s priorities may be different from the controller’s priorities. It’s a natural transition that we might call, The Non-Profit Life Cycle.

Non-profits (unions, charities, advocacy groups) come into being for a Cause. There’s a need, there’s a bit of money to organize the disparate many into a unified voice, there’s a desire for the common good.

A funny thing happens to non-profits; after a while, the survival of the Institution takes precedence over the Cause. For instance: what would happen to all the people at the American Cancer Society if we cured cancer next week? All the marketing people, the direct mail people, the graphic artists – they’d be out of a job. Same with a lot of organizations.

After a while, the Organization (like any living thing) pays more attention to Continuation than the Cause. The Organization becomes another player in the industry, with a new set of values and priorities.

You can look at different organizations and identify when they shifted from Cause to Continuation. Usually, the jump happens right about when they buy a building in DC.

NATCA-National

So let’s look at Organized Labor in the last twenty years. Would you say that Organized Labor does better in the private sector or the public sector? I’m thinking: public sector. So why is NATCA willing to move it’s founding Bargaining Unit out of a purely government organization into, at best, a trust-me hybrid?

The answer is: because it’s in NATCA’s best interest. It might not be in your best interest, Joe Journeyman, but it’s in NATCA’s best interest.

How did NATCA treat the other unions, like PASS, in this endorsement? Sold them down the river. They don’t care as much about PASS as they do about NATCA.

NATCA has ensured it’s own survival, by endorsing an unprecedented change in your world. This is bigger than the White Book and the Imposed Work Rules, and this is bigger than Pay Reform.

I’m afraid of this deal. Once it’s out of the Govt, even partially, then it slides a bit more, and a bit more. Anybody who thinks this is going to be better should talk to some ARINC people, because that’s pretty close to the model.

Some will say, it’s not going to get through the Senate this year. I’d mention two things:

  • Senator Chuck Schumer, the D-heir apparent, is a NextGen True Believer. Schumer and JetBlue have their hands in each other’s pockets. Chuck has promised JetBlue that FAA will pay for their NextGen avionics expenses. Chuck is not a firewall, he’s the enemy.
  • Everything’s going to be up for grabs. Scalia’s replacement, the budget, the Presidential election dwarfing the normal process. It’s a crazy season. It’s not good to have your job security up for grabs in a chaotic situation.
  • The Union leadership that did this has sold the membership to Industry, for their own reasons. What are you going to do about it? Cause they’ve already acted.

More to follow.

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A most excellent question

Interesting Press Release —  NATCA ASKS:  What’s the plan for realigning air traffic control facilities?

Excellent question.

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