FAA Says Talks Are On, NATCA Says It's Over

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It's kind of hard to believe that these folks attended the same meeting on Friday. In a teleconference with reporters, FAA chief negotiator Joe Miniachi said his understanding was that both sides would work on the few outstanding articles over the weekend and meet Tuesday to exchange final offers. "We are now scheduled to talk Tuesday," Miniachi told the teleconference. NATCA President John Carr couldn't have had a more opposing view. "Final offers have been exchanged and rejected and negotiations are over -- the mediator knows it, NATCA knows it, and the FAA knows it," Carr said in a news release issued after the FAA's teleconference. Assuming Carr doesn't have some sort of revelation over the weekend and the talks really are over, the flying public -- pilots and passengers -- likely won't notice anything. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said that despite the hair-pulling at the bargaining table, she considers the NATCA rank and file to be professionals dedicated to keeping the airspace safe, regardless of the rhetoric in Washington. In her crystal ball, there will be no repeat of the 1981 illegal strike that led to the firing of most controllers. "I do not, in any way shape or form, think there will be a strike," she said.