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Sun, Oct 21, 2007

Report: Workers Back On The Job At ZTL

Union Says 300 Controllers Affected By Mold

Construction workers who walked off the job at (ZTL) the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton, GA were back on the job Friday. Contractors walked off the site two weeks ago, when mold was discovered at the center, as reported by ANN.

An FAA official told Atlanta's FOX-5 news steps have been taken to improve conditions at the center for controllers, as well as for the contractors tasked with overhauling the facility's ventilation system.

Air traffic controllers at the Hampton center, one of the busiest in the nation, reported the facility's leaking roof was creating a damp condition inviting the mold... and making employees sick.

"Specifically, there is a fungus called Scopulariopsis in the control room. Spores from this fungal source are being dispersed through the air. Fungal samples were taken at the facility on Sept. 20 by Analytical Environmental. According to NATCA Atlanta Center Facility Representative Calvin Phillips, approximately half of the more than 300 controllers in the facility have suffered various degrees of health problems over a prolonged period of time," according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association report.

NATCA adds "the nation's busiest air traffic control facility is currently the site of a dangerous mold and fungus infestation," on its website.

According to FOX 5, controllers were forced to sit at their consoles as water dripped through the ceiling, forcing them to use umbrellas while on the job. Air traffic controllers notified the television station of a response of how the mold concerns were being handled at the Atlanta center.

"The FAA has not shown one ounce of remorse for destroying the health of its employees. They view this as a liability issue and are trying to mitigate the damages," Phillips said. "These employees have had to use the sick leave they have earned because the building they work in is a health hazard. Then the FAA punishes these employees for being sick. The FAA has no respect for its employees. We feel like we work in a federal sweat shop."

According to the report the Georgia Congressional Delegation looked into the complaint and sent a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board, asking the FAA to clean up what they call "unacceptably poor working conditions."

FMI: www.natca.org/mediacenter/Mold.msp

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