...FSS Workers Criticize Privatization Process

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Meanwhile, the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) union said Thursday it is seeking an order from a federal arbitrator that would rescind a service contract awarded in February to Lockheed Martin to operate the FAA's Flight Service Stations. At a hearing last week, the union argued that the FAA violated a contractual promise that it would involve the union in the process to transfer work performed by federal employees to outside contractors. "This is a blatant violation of our agreement with the agency," said PASS National President Tom Brantley. "We believe that the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS) should not be contracted out to the lowest bidder." And in its third annual report on the FAA's efforts to modernize the National Airspace System, the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General found that cost growth, schedule delays and performance shortfalls with the FAA's major acquisitions continue to stall progress. "Consequently, it is not clear how much these programs will cost, how long it will take to complete them, or what capabilities they will finally deliver," the report says. The FAA needs to develop a comprehensive strategy if it hopes to keep pace with growing demand for air traffic services, the report concludes.