FAA Tired Of Talking With ATC

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Meanwhile, the last version of the NATCA-FAA contract awaits congressional action, and with the clock ticking down to a 60-day deadline on that, the union continues to insist that it's not done talking ... and has been led to believe that the FAA isn't, either. At its Web site, NATCA prez John Carr quotes FAA chief Marion Blakey: "If there were an opportunity to go back to the table ... we'd certainly like to sit down and talk," from a C-SPAN National telecast on April 11. Impasse was declared on April 5. The FAA last week, however, said it's done talking and intends to let Congress deal with it from here. A letter that Blakey faxed to Carr on Monday reiterates that stance. "At this late date, resuming collective bargaining makes little sense," she wrote. "Our two sides are like 'ships passing in the night.'" Blakey says "exhaustive" bargaining over key issues yielded no real progress. Yet, she still does seem to leave an opening, however slight: "Absent an about-face by NATCA on these core issues, I don't see how further negotiations would produce anything more than costly delay." The core issues that Blakey sees as intractable are lower pay scales for new hires, replacing automatic pay hikes with performance-based incentives, and unspecified work-rule issues.