Unions Wary Of System Collapse


Credit: The New York Times

Some of the largest unions whose members are directly affected by the government shutdown are warning that aviation safety is being compromised and they’re not sure when it might collapse. In a joint statement, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants are urging an end to the situation because they see real safety concerns. “We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines, and the traveling public due to the government shutdown,” the statement read. “In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”

Since it is unprecedented, the shutdown’s impact is manifesting in unpredictable ways, the unions said. “The situation is changing at a rapid pace. Major airports are already seeing security checkpoint closures, with many more potentially to follow,” the statement said. “Safety inspectors and federal cyber security staff are not back on the job at pre-shutdown levels, and those not on furlough are working without pay.” ATC facilities are already understaffed, the unions said, noting that many controllers are doing significant overtime with deferred paychecks. The unions also said the shutdown will have long-lasting effects on staffing and ongoing programs. The full statement can be seen by clicking “Download File” below.