For FAA, NATCA Bill Would Force Binding Arbitration

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About 30 members of the House have introduced a companion bill to a Senate document that would ultimately force binding arbitration if the FAA and its unionized workers can't reach a voluntary contract settlement. The bill's introduction earned support from both sides of the House (12 Republicans signed on) with Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) leading the effort. The bill, called the FAA Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006, would eliminate a clause in current legislation that could result in the FAA's last, "best" offer being forced on the workers. "This bill would propose a small change in the law, but it would make a big difference by restoring fairness and true accountability to the negotiation process," John Carr, president of the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA), said in a news release. Other unions are also pleased. "We are encouraged to see that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle recognize the need for fair collective bargaining," Tom Brantley, president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, said in a news release. Four of five of PASS's bargaining units are currently at an impasse in negotiations with the FAA, although their difficulties don't get near the attention that the fractious talks between the agency and NATCA do.