Thu, Apr 20, 2006
But Keep The Bucket Ready... Just In Case
After escalating its war of rhetoric with the FAA
to levels unseen since the days of Kennedy and Khrushchev, on
Tuesday the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, led by
President John Carr, announced the union would accept the Federal
Aviation Administration’s public offer to return to the
bargaining table. Carr called upon the agency to rescind its
declaration of impasse and bring to the new talks a renewed spirit
of good faith bargaining and a desire to reach a voluntary
"We are anxious to return to the table immediately and we accept
the FAA’s public offer to re-open the talks," Carr said. "We
have always been dedicated to good faith bargaining and a voluntary
agreement and we still believe both good faith and an agreement are
possible. We want to continue bargaining with the agency in hopes
that both sides can find that elusive common ground. The FAA wants
a voluntary agreement and so do we. The place to find that
agreement is at the table, not in the Congress."
Carr added he is confident that the agency will rescind the
contract submission it sent to Congress upon declaring an impasse
on April 5.
"The talks are either ongoing or they’re at impasse. They
cannot be both," Carr said. "In order to proceed with the
agency’s desire that talks reopen, both parties will need to
retract their last best offers so that our negotiating teams can
continue working on a voluntary agreement."
The FAA’s official spokesperson was quoted on April 17 as
saying, "We welcome the opportunity to go back to the bargaining
table," and expressed the FAA’s desire to see "movement on
the fundamental issue of pay for new hires."
That's not an official declaration that the agency is prepared
to return to the bargaining table, though... and at this writing,
the FAA's website (above) still lists "FAA Submits "Best and Final"
Contract Proposal" as its top news item.
NATCA appears to be positioning itself as eager to return to the
bargaining table... although so far the FAA hasn't responded
in kind... which might mean this latest "cooling off" period isn't
as set in stone as NATCA may hope. Stay tuned -- it ain't over
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