AFGE joins employee, manager groups opposing privatizing of air traffic control

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is joining with other employee organizations in opposing any attempts to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control system, the organization said.

AFGE is one of seven organizations representing FAA´s rank-and-file employees and managers that sent a joint letter to leaders from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in opposition to privatization.

The FAA operates and maintains the National Airspace System, which transports two million passengers to and from their destinations on about 70,00 flights per day.

The groups believe privatization would jeopardize the FAA´s almost-completed work to develop the nation´s Next Generation Air Transportation System, commonly called NextGen, which is being spearheaded by FAA researchers and engineers at the William J. Hughes Technical Center outside Atlantic City, N.J.

The Congressional Budget Office says privatizing the air traffic control system would increase the nation´s deficit by USD 20bn over 10 years and billions more in subsequent decades.

The Department of Defense says it has “serious concerns” about the impact privatization would have on national defense — specifically on critical military assets managed jointly by the Pentagon and FAA, including drones, communication systems, and surveillance.

Joining AFGE in signing the letter were the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the FAA Managers Association, the National Association of Government Employees; the National Federation of Federal Employees; the Professional Association of Aeronautical Center Employees; and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.