New York Controllers Fired

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The FAA has fired nine air traffic controllers at the volatile New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) for allegedly failing to admit that they'd sought treatment for stress. It's the latest chapter in a simmering (sometimes boiling) dispute over the function of the facility, which the FAA claims was effectively taken over by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association membership in recent years. The nine controllers were accused of falsifying government documents by failing to acknowledge their stress treatment on a form that is part of their routine physical examination. The union claims the allegations are bogus because the FAA already knows who's taken time off for stress or any other reason. Sick days with pay became one of the contentious points between the agency and the controllers in New York after a review showed they used far more sick days than any other facility. Under workers' compensation laws, a controller is allowed up to 45 days of paid leave each year. Union officials told Newsday they believed the firings were intended to discourage controllers from taking sick leave. The fired controllers have 30 days to appeal.