In This Issue:
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans, recognizing their central role in U.S. history. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling on the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Every American president since then has designated February as Black History Month. The celebration also has received official recognition from other countries around the world.
In Honor of Black History Month:
Recognizing Kyle Johnson, One of NATCA's First Black Members and Leaders
Today, NATCA recognizes and honors one of its first Black members, retired member Kyle “Kj” Johnson. Johnson was born and raised in Oxford, Ohio, along with his older brother and two younger sisters. 

Both of Johnson’s parents were strong union members. His mother was a 20-year member of the Ohio Civil Service Union and his father was a 30+ year member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America and several other building trade organizations.

After a short-lived college football career that ended due to injury, Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force. “I often tell the story of my recruiter trying to persuade me not to choose air traffic control (ATC) because in his words, ‘Negroes don’t do well in air traffic control, and there weren’t many,’” Johnson said. “My response to him was, ‘I’ll take air traffic control!’” Johnson’s ATC career started at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB), and two years later, he was transferred to Travis AFB in California where he met his wife, Pat, of 37 years.

Johnson joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a direct hire to Chicago Center (ZAU) just weeks after the PATCO strike in 1981, and it quickly became clear to him why the PATCO sisters and brothers had taken that severe action. “We had no voice in working conditions, training, or career advancement,” said Johnson. “Management had very little accountability and ran their facilities like their own little kingdoms.”

By the mid 1980s, the FAA was making attempts at collaboration and partnership, but could never seem to get out of its own way and never fully embraced partnership, said Johnson. By 1985, talks of organizing had taken hold and the word began to spread. Around the same time, Johnson had transferred to San Francisco ATCT (SFO). “I remember long car rides to facilities around the Bay Area. SFO member Mark Sherry, retired member Steve Fabela, myself, and others pushed Union pledge cards,” he said. “We signed up as many as we could get, and by June 1987, NATCA was born.”

“I am forever a Gold Card-carrying Charter Member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association,” Johnson adds proudly.

In early 1988, Johnson was elected the first vice president/treasurer of Concord ATCT (CCR), and by fall became the FacRep until 1992. He represented CCR as a delegate to the 1990 and 1992 biennial conventions and was an Oakland ATCT (OAK) delegate/alternate from 1996-2006. Johnson also served as the East Bay representative to the Western Pacific Region (NWP) Steering Committee from 1990-1998, on the NWP Legislative Committee from 1992-2000, and on the Level I Contract Tower Committee from 1993-1998. Additionally, he was the OAK President and/or officer from 1995-2007, on the National Organizing Committee from 2006-2009, a Retired NATCA Active Volunteers (RNAV) Executive Board member from 2015-2018, and a Boots On The Ground participant since its creation in 2008. 

Johnson stated, “I have seen our little Union grow and accomplish amazing things accomplishments that folks said could never be done,” said Johnson. “In the early 90s we began our fight to stop the contracting out of lower activity towersthat’s correct, the 90sby creating the National Legislative Committee. We organized informational pickets to educate the public about the consequences of such contracting. During that same period, we worked overtime to get our PATCO brothers and sisters back to work, and by 1998, we had successfully completed (pay) reclass, saved over 900 bargaining unit employees from losing their jobs through the contracting out their facilities, increased our membership to over 70%, and we were just getting started. We gained direct affiliation with the AFL-CIO, organized other bargaining units and bought the Krasner Building (home of the NATCA National Office in Washington, D.C.)."

He concluded, “As we embark on another month of Black History Month, I encourage you to celebrate our (NATCA’s) diversity and inclusivity. In the early years, it was not always easy or comfortable to be the only one or the rare one, but NATCA gave me a safe home. NATCA gives you the forum where your voice carries as much weight as any other—a place where opposing views are encouraged and valued.”
Attend the Union Synergy Committee's
Second Town Hall Focusing on Involvement
The Union Synergy (US) Committee invites all active and retired members to join them in their Facebook Group on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. EST for a special Town Hall on Involvement. No registration is required!

The US Committee was created to promote and maintain a Union that is inclusive of all members and thrives on the talents of our diversity. Through research, awareness, education, and with a clear understanding of our professional/conduct codes and the NATCA constitution, US works to recognize and address the effect of bias on the work culture and climate amongst all NATCA’s safety professionals.

The committee serves to promote awareness of bias and stereotypes and how they negatively influence diversity and inclusion within our Union. If you are not already a member, you can join the US Facebook group here.
Call for Nominations: 2021 Archie League Medal of Safety Awards
The nomination period for the 2021 Archie League Medal of Safety Awards, the 17th annual, is now open. We are looking for the best saves that have occurred at your facilities since June 1, 2020. A member may nominate another member for an Archie League Medal of Safety Award.

The 2021 Awards will be presented on Sept. 29 at Communicating For Safety 2021 at Bally's Las Vegas.

Click here to access the nomination form.

To learn more about the past winners of the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards, click here.
2020 Southwest Region Archie League Award Winners Podcast, Pilot Anise Shapiro (No. 2 of 2)
In our last episode of The NATCA Podcast, we brought you the story of Fort Worth Center (ZFW) members Brian Cox, Larry Bell, and Colin McKinnon. The trio worked together as a team to help pilot and flight instructor Anise Shapiro and her student, Jouni Uusitalo when the engine failed on his Piper PA-46 Malibu halfway into a 75-minute flight over West Texas. For their efforts, the members are being honored this year with the Archie League Medal of Safety Award for the Southwest Region.
Now, we bring you part two of this event—a conversation with Shapiro. She describes what the experience was like and how she and Uusitalo and the six dogs they were transporting all escaped unharmed after landing safely in a wheat field.

Shapiro has been flying since 1997. This was her first engine failure, something she trains for regularly with her students. Shapiro said she could feel the ZFW team behind her, having her back. “Knowing that you’re not alone actually is more helpful as a pilot than anything,” she said. “They stayed super calm. The calmer each transmission was, the calmer I felt.”
Click here to listen.

Other ways to listen to The NATCA Podcast:
Welcoming Two New FCT Facilities
into the NATCA Family
NATCA represents a group of air traffic control specialists that work in 114 Federal Contract Towers (FCTs) for one of four private employers: Midwest Air Traffic Control Services, Robinson Aviation (RVA), Inc., RVA-CI Squared Aviation, Inc., and Serco Management Services, Inc. For more information on all of NATCA’s represented bargaining units, please click here.

Today, we'd like to recognize and welcome the members from two more FCTs who recently voted to join NATCA:
Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport is a joint civil-military airport in Hampden County, Mass., three miles north of Westfield and northwest of Springfield. Westfield-Barnes is one of the state's largest airports with a strong flight training, general aviation, and military presence. It is also known as Barnes Air National Guard Base.

Westfield-Barnes ATCT (BAF) has four members who unanimously voted to join NATCA in August 2020. Andrew Brennan serves as the FacRep and treasurer, and Laurie Addoms serves as the vice president and secretary.

"It is great to be back in the active NATCA family," said Brennan. "During my FAA career, I was a longtime FacRep and a Legislative Rep at Bradley International ATCT (BDL). As a lifetime NATCA member that started in the FAA before NATCA was chartered, it has been amazing to see the growth and development of NATCA into a world-class organization. I am encouraged to see all the new, young NATCAvists stepping up to the challenges and continuing the work."
Southern Illinois Airport is a public airport in Jackson County, Ill. It is located three nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Carbondale and east of Murphysboro.

Home to Southern Illinois University's aviation flight and aviation technologies programs, the airport is capable of accommodating a variety of aircraft up to and including the Boeing 757. Sufficient aircraft ramps and tie-down spaces exist for a large and varied number of aircraft. Hangar space is available for based and transient aircraft up to and including the Gulfstream V.

Southern Illinois ATCT (MDH) has five members, with Brad Devening serving as the FacRep, Mark Wilcox serving as the vice president, and Elliott Benton serving as the secretary and treasurer. The tower operates daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) weather facility operating on a 24-hour basis.
NATCA Member Appointed to Serve
on the Executive Board of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation
Congratulations to Retired NATCA Active Volunteers (RNAV) member and NATCA’s National Office Technology Representative Matt Sullivan on being elected to sit on the Executive Board of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation (NoVA Labor) of the Virginia AFL-CIO.

Northern Virginia has been one of NATCA’s Boots On The Ground (BOTG) locations for many years, which has allowed NATCA members to slowly grow their leadership and activism within NoVA Labor, both during the BOTG working cycle, and in the months outside program work. 

NoVA Labor is comprised of 72 local unions and approximately 56,000 union members. Sullivan’s two-year term on the executive board began Jan. 1.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to serve in this position,” said Sullivan. “The work of our Union is bigger than one person, and I am grateful to be able to pass along NATCA's message of solidarity while serving in this position.”
NATCA's Historical Committee:
A Blast From the Past
You may have heard of NATCA’s National Historical Committee (NHC), but with a newly-appointed Chair at its helm, Minneapolis TRACON (M98) Secretary Ryan Herrick, the committee is working to make sure that neither it, nor you, are forgotten.

The NHC was established in 2012 under the National Constitution Standing Rule H-7 (SRH-7) and is chartered for the exclusive purpose of documenting the official history of NATCA at the national, regional, and local levels. There are currently nine members of the committee: five active controllers, one Region X member, and three Retired NATCA Active Volunteers (RNAV) members.
Herrick is a new member on the NHC, having joined last November. He accepted this important responsibility because he’s always enjoyed learning about what happened in the early years of our Union and how it affects the membership now. 

“History of the Union is very important,” says Herrick. “We must learn from our past."

Herrick added, “I feel that we are at a crossroads in our Union. There is nearly 80% of our membership that never lived in the White Book years. They have no idea of the struggles that the Union endured throughout those years.”

As chair, one of Herrick’s main goals is to grow NATCA's online historical information. He would like to create an online, searchable repository of all the historical documents of the Union for use by all the national committees.

Concludes Herrick, “the Historical Committee is poised to be a great resource to explain to the newer members the struggles we endured and how we came out stronger as a Union.”
Upgrades to NATCA's ITC's Webpage
Looking for NATCA IT support? The IT Committee has a new online form to streamline the process of requesting help on its committee page on the NATCA member website at Below is a video that shows how easy it is to request help.
Also on ITC's webpage, NATCA members now can see in realtime the current functional status of important NATCA tools like GATS, MS Office 365, and our Union's email servers.
NATCA Virtual Academy Courses Available
Building on the success of classes over the past year, organizers of the NATCA Academy have announced a new schedule of classes for virtual learning through the end of March. We hope that you will take this opportunity to learn more about your Union, your rights, and how you can become more active in the areas that interest you.

Visit the NATCA Membership Portal to sign up for any of the NATCA Academy Virtual Learning courses. Once you have logged in, select “List of Events” from the Events menu tab, then select “NATCA Academy Virtual Learning.” If you have any questions, please contact Chrissy Padgett.
What you Need to Know About Funding the FAA: Having experienced the longest shutdown of the federal government in history, many members were curious how we got there and what can be done to prevent it in the future. NATCA has been advocating for a stable, predictable funding stream for years but many don’t understand why. This is your opportunity to learn about the U.S. budgeting and appropriations processes so that you understand the issue and can educate your fellow NATCA members. (60 minutes)

  • Thursday, Feb. 11 @ Noon EST

  • Tuesday, March 9 @ Noon EST
Having a Difficult Conversation: People are not always equipped to communicate effectively when perspectives differ or when discussing a sensitive topic. This webinar will uncover techniques to help participants improve professional and personal communication that opens a path forward to benefit everyone involved. (60 minutes)

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17 @ 4 p.m. EST

Collaborative Leadership: Leaders may receive the right technical training, but not many know how to incorporate differing personality types and work styles within their team. This webinar facilitates an understanding of effective leadership in demanding environments. The outcome of this course is for each individual to gain a better understanding of their leadership strengths and weaknesses, as well as be able to identify various traits in others to propel their local into a more collaborative and successful team. (90 minutes)

  • Wednesday, Feb. 10 @ Noon EST

NATCA 101: NATCA 101 endeavors to provide a foundation of information about the Union for all levels of membership. Whether attended online, or in-person, members will learn the history of the organization, the work the Union does for its members every day, and be provided insight for how members can become more involved. Education is the first step toward a stronger local, which leads to a more powerful national Union. A strong Union creates a better future for our members and their families. (2 hours)

  • Monday, Feb. 15 @ 2 p.m. EST

  • Monday, March 15 @ TIME TBD

Building a Stronger Local: This webinar is designed to enhance the strength of your local by recognizing and embracing individual differences, and learning how to improve teamwork and communication. This course provides an in-depth overview of how a local is organized, how the local functions, and educates members at all levels on how to become an active participant in their Union. (60 minutes)

  • Wednesday, Feb. 24 @ 2 p.m. EST
End of Year Forms: Join us for a detailed overview on end of year forms. We will discuss filing deadlines, how to setup an online account through the IRS, OLMS, and breakdown all the required information needed for you to fill out your LM4 and 990N forms. Due to the limited amount of facilities required to fill out an LM3 we ask that you work directly with your NFC member for questions regarding the LM3. (60 minutes)

  • Thursday, Feb. 11 @ 6 p.m. EST

  • Tuesday, March 2 @ 6 p.m. EST

  • Monday, March 8 @ 1 p.m. EST

  • Monday, March 15 @ 1 p.m. EDT

How to Amend Your Local Constitution: Join us for a detailed overview on how to amend your locals constitution. The DOL requires local constitutions to be in line with national constitutions. As this is a convention year, locals will have to make any changes made by the convention body. (60 minutes)

  • Thursday, March 4 @ Noon EST

Conducting Local Meetings: Join us for an overview on how to conduct a general/EBoard membership meeting in person and virtually. We will cover how to take meeting minutes and how to properly conduct Roberts rules while complying with DOL regulations and NATCA procedures. (60 minutes)

  • Monday, March 8 @ 11 a.m. EST

Conducting Local Elections: As an election official, you will be responsible for conducting your union’s election of officers in accordance with federal law and your union’s constitution and bylaws. This training will prepare you to facilitate your locals election. (60 minutes)

  • Monday, March 8 @ 7 p.m. EST

Roberts Rules: Based on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief, this course is designed for people who are new to using parliamentary procedure, or who would like a refresher on the fundamental concepts of effective meeting procedure. (60 minutes)

  • Tuesday, March 9 @ 6 p.m. EST

Social Media: Create an engaged community around your local with social media marketing. Learn how to attract an audience, provide value for followers, promote our Union, and set up targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. (60 minutes)

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9 @ 2 p.m. EST

  • Tuesday, March 9 @ 2 p.m. EST
OSHA Rep Basics: Explore health and safety issues and how our CBAs are built to protect us. As a Principal Facility Rep, Facility OSHA Rep, or NATCA member, you will learn the role you can play in supporting our CBAs and making your workplace safer. You will also discover how the OSHA Committee helps you find your way through OSHA issues daily, and how NATCA's Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) works to give us the tools we need to understand how our workplaces can affect our health. (60 minutes)

  • Wednesday, March 31 @ 1 p.m. EDT
Online Drug and Alcohol Basics Training: Learn about your rights, the role we all play, what to expect, and where you can find additional resources before, during, and after testing. (2 hours)

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23 @ 1 p.m. EST

  • Saturday, March 27 @ 1 p.m. EDT
Federal Contract Tower (FCT) Training (90 min)

  • Wednesday, March 10 @ 2 p.m. EST
NATCA 101 is an interactive learning course used to introduce our new members, as well as those looking to get more involved, to the organization and structure of NATCA. This class provides a foundation with information about NATCA that will help members understand and become more involved with the organization that is working on their behalf every day.

Having the basic knowledge and background of our Union and then building on it with personal involvement are the first steps toward a stronger local, a more powerful national Union, and a better future for your family.

Click here to register for the upcoming course.
Take Advantage of Your Retirement Future With Online Webinars
One of the most important member benefits that NATCA provides you is expert planning and guidance about your retirement. This year, we are pleased to offer you online briefings provided by 4 Square Financial Literacy Partners, Inc.

Here are the upcoming online briefings:

  • Thursday, Feb. 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CST
  • Tuesday, March 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CDT
  • Wednesday, April 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CDT
  • Wednesday, May 19, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CDT

Learn How to Maximize Your Benefit to Meet Your Goals - Whether you’re building for your future in retirement, or ready to put your retirement plan into action, we are here with information to help. Spouses are also encouraged to attend.

Use the NATCA Portal to register, Click on the “events” tab in the main menu at the top of the screen. 

For questions or any problems with registration, please contact NATCA Membership Services Coordinator Lisa Head at the National Office: 202-628-5451 or
Apply for NATCA's College Scholarship Today!
NATCA offers a scholarship program for spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased members in good standing for at least two consecutive years. This scholarship is for full-time attendance at accredited colleges and universities within the United States and its territories for an undergraduate degree program.

Applicants must apply in writing to the NATCA National President no later than March 1 for the college/university attendance in 2021, and submit a qualifying 500-word essay.

During a crisis, like COVID-19, many workers have been able to perform their work from home. Many essential workers, like air traffic controllers, are unable to do so. Describe in 500 words or less: “What has NATCA been able to attain on behalf of the professionals we represent through advocacy, collaboration and negotiations?”

NATCA will notify applicants as to whether they will receive the scholarship by April 30, 2021. For details about the NATCA Scholarship Program, including the application, click here.
Operation Traffic Counts Across the U.S.