ATC Privatization Predictions And Practice

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The National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS) last week organized pickets at airports across the nation to draw attention to what they believe are President Bush's plans to privatize the nation's flight service station system. The Bush administration has officially begun its examination intended to determine if there would be financial benefit from turning over the industry to private contractors, and for every step taken in that direction, it appears union members will respond with a reciprocal. Last month AOPA offered NAATS little solace when it announced that it was seeking direct input in drafting the Performance Work Statement that will form part of the study of FSS operations and will remain open to privatization pending results from the study. Friday, up in Canada, where the private non-share capital corporation NAV CANADA already employs controllers, controllers picketed the Winnipeg International Airport as part of their effort to engage their employer in contract negotiations. Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, Canadian Auto Workers local 5454, Thursday released a statement stating that the controllers have been without a contract since March 31, 2001, and that although bargaining has continued for two years workers have been faced with schedules that are "bizarre" and "unlivable." The Winnipeg demonstration coincides with a strike being taken by trainee air traffic controllers across the country. The strike is expected to expand unless common ground is found.