PATCO President Turns Down Controller Job
Ron Taylor has been out of work in his chosen field for almost 26 years, but that doesn't mean he's going to take the first offer that comes along. Taylor, the president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) whose members were fired en masse by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 when they went ahead with strike action, says he's been offered a job as an air traffic controller by the FAA in his old facility at West Palm Beach, Fla., but he's not taking it. In a news release, Taylor said he's not about to work for the FAA's new starting wage, which was imposed as part of the enforced settlement of a labor contract with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) last year. He said he was offered about a third of what an experienced controller would make, and he's not about to accept the "inadequate, substandard and discriminatory salary that the Agency has offered to me." According to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown, there are plenty of people anxious to take Taylor's spot. "We've been having no trouble attracting people who want these jobs," Brown told AVweb. She said she's not sure where Taylor would have entered the system, but given his lengthy absence from the console she surmised that at the very least he would need to recertify. Even if that meant going to the controllers' academy to start over, Brown insists it's still not a bad deal. Fresh recruits get about $2,500 a month while they're training and the salary goes up quickly after that. "After one year, they're making $50,000 and after five years they're making $94,000," she said. Taylor is apparently leaving the door open for the FAA to sweeten his deal. He made sure his rejection letter to the FAA was written "without prejudice," meaning he doesn't think this particular tiff should get in the way of his being offered and accepting a better offer.