NATCA Ratifies Deal

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National Air Traffic Controllers Association members have ratified work rules that will form part of a collective agreement set to be in force on Oct. 1. Binding arbitration earlier resolved pay and the FAA and NATCA negotiators had earlier agreed to the work rules and other provisions. Although there wasn't much doubt about the outcome of the vote, it's a symbolic event in that it was the final step in eliminating a hated set of rules that were imposed by the FAA and upheld by Congress in 2005. "Today, the members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association overwhelmingly approved a collective bargaining agreement with the FAA," said outgoing NATCA President Patrick Forrey, who has presided over the union for much of the period under the imposed work rules. " It is a testament to our membership that they have endured the worst time in our union's history, working towards and holding out for a contract that was negotiated in a fair process and agreed to by the parties."

Forrey said it's time to bury the hatchet on the bad old days and get everyone pulling in the same direction for the challenges that lie ahead. "Now is the time to move forward and forge a working relationship that will stabilize the workforce, effectively train the large number of new hires and keep the current system safe and efficient while we transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System."