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FAA Imposes New Work Rules

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If your clearances are a little clipped, your handoffs a little brisk, it could be the controller working your flight is a little hot under the collar -- the collar he or she likely now has to wear while at work. Now, it's hard to tell if the agency was sending a message to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) or whether senior brass were oblivious to organized labor's affinity for this particular statutory holiday but the FAA's choice to impose hated new work rules on the Labor Day weekend was not lost on the union. "It's like getting fired on Christmas. It's the worst, punch-in-the-gut blow to the morale of this workforce imaginable," said NATCA President Pat Forrey. "But our position is very simple: We do not consider the imposed work rules [which include a dress code] to be valid because they were not negotiated and have not been ratified by the NATCA membership." Forrey took over the president's post from John Carr on Sept. 1, about three months after the FAA imposed a contract on the union, ending almost a year of, at times, acrimonious negotiations. The union has vowed to fight the imposed contract but for now, at least, will have to live with it.

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