FAA Unions reject air traffic control system privatization

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the unions representing thousands of employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), released the following statement in response to introduction of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R.4441) by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.):

“The reauthorization of the FAA is a critically important piece of legislation that ensures the continued operation and modernization of this country´s aviation system, as well as the jobs of thousands of federal employees. While we continue to analyze the draft of the bill as a whole, as representatives of these federal employees, we are discouraged to note the inclusion of language seeking to privatize the portion of the FAA responsible for air traffic control.

“Making massive changes to the FAA´s structure is neither a prudent nor responsible decision to move the agency forward. Privatizing the FAA will only add uncertainty and potentially reverse major advancements that have been made over the past several years toward modernization. It is paramount to ensure that the FAA has a consistent and adequate funding stream. However, this does not require changing the entire structure and turning it over to a private corporation to make funding and governing decisions, possibly subjecting the system to economic downturns and financial hardships.

“FAA employees are public servants who ensure the safety of the flying public. A privatized model that functions without oversight could lead to self-serving agendas, taking control out of the public´s hands. Who is going to ensure the public airspace is operated fairly and openly for all of the diverse users of the system and for the public´s benefit? This is the priority for federal employees at the FAA and should not be entrusted to a private corporation, regardless if it is a for-profit or not-for-profit entity.

“AFGE, AFSCME and PASS firmly believe that the FAA must remain a cohesive unit of federal employees. We look forward to working with members of Congress to move the agency forward.”