Lockheed Takes Over Flight Service...

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Handover Set For Tomorrow

Lockheed Martin officially takes over operation of the nation's flight service stations as of tomorrow ... presuming that last-ditch efforts by a workers' union prove futile. The National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), which represents the FSS staffers, last week sent out a letter to all members of Congress seeking support for stopping the takeover. The letter asks FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to delay the takeover until Congress has a chance to complete its 2006 budget process. "If the FAA proceeds on October 3 and is subsequently directed by Congress to suspend or reverse implementation, it could mean significant additional expenses to the FAA," the letter says. "For these reasons, we request that you delay the implementation of this transition until the [transportation appropriations] bill is signed into law." On Friday, a federal judge denied the union's request to halt the takeover on the basis that the FAA's action amounts to age discrimination. The judge didn't dispute that most of the workers who will lose their jobs are over 40, but said that in itself doesn't mean the action is discriminatory.