Legislators' 11th-Hour Rally For FSS...

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Workers Vs. The FAA

The U.S. House on Thursday passed a bill that would allow Flight Service Station (FSS) workers to retain their jobs as FAA employees, but the measure, which has won bipartisan support, still has a long way to go to become law. First, a Senate version must pass, then the two versions must be reconciled and sent to the White House, which has already promised to veto it. Canceling Lockheed Martin's contract to take over the FSSs would trigger $300 million in penalties, the White House said. But the union representing the FSS workers, the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), was thrilled to have the bill in play at all. The FAA has now published a notice in the Federal Register that they'll conduct a survey to "determine customer satisfaction with Lockheed Martin's provision of flight services." If Lockheed takes over in October as scheduled, over 1,000 FSS workers will lose their pensions, NAATS said. Further, the promise that all current workers will be offered jobs is misleading, since many of the jobs are only temporary until Lockheed closes down 38 FSS facilities, NAATS said. The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Bernie Sanders, Independent, from Vermont. Meanwhile, over in the U.K., their semi-privatized air traffic system is not only breaking even, but this year it posted a profit and paid out dividends of 5 million pounds. The National Air Traffic Services, which is owned 49 percent by the government, 46 percent by airlines and airport operators and 5 percent by staffers, earns the bulk of its revenues from fees charged for handling trans-Atlantic flights.