FAA Support Workers Win One

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The Federal Labor Relations Authority has ruled that the FAA must immediately bring systems specialist staffing to a minimum of 6,100 nationwide, upholding an arbitrator's decision in a labor grievance filed by Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS). PASS President Tom Brantley said the FAA agreed in 2000 that 6,100 workers were the minimum required to safely certify and maintain the air traffic control system, but numbers have not met that level for two years. There are "serious safety issues" in operating without enough systems staff, said Brantley. The FAA disagreed that staffing was inadequate. (Don't worry, we're waiting on the anonymous letter...) "We will make sure that we have the right number of people in the right place at the right time," Greg Martin, an FAA spokesman, told Federal Computer Week. Part of the problem was related to the FAA's implementation of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, or STARS, without a transition period or proper staff, PASS Vice President Mike Perrone told Federal Computer Week. STARS "was not as mature as advertised," making staff cuts a mistake, he said. The union said it believed staffing was about 200 people short. "PASS urges the FAA to immediately begin hiring systems specialists in order to comply with the arbitrator's decision," said Brantley.