In This Issue:
Aligning with Dr. King's Legacy of Activism
Brothers and Sisters,

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a leading role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. He was an inspirational proponent of organized, nonviolent resistance. Dr. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. Later during his career, he expanded his activism – with the Poor People’s Campaign – to include economic issues such as opposing poverty and advocating for workplace collective action and union organizing.

As we all witnessed the ugly attack on the Capitol, we reflect on Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolence and his impassioned call to pursue social justice. Social justice promotes fairness and equity across all aspects of society. It is about transforming unjust and violent social orders and relationships through consciousness-raising, systematic organizing, and mobilizing those who are marginalized and oppressed politically, economically, ecologically, and socially.

The solidarity of our great Union aligns with Dr. King’s important legacy. We are proud of NATCA members and the projects they have participated in over the past year to make our Union more inclusive and fight injustices that continue to harm our society. 

In the spirit of Dr. King, the members of NATCA join together to advocate for fair wages and benefits. Our Union’s legislative activists are well known for our advocacy on behalf of our more than 20,000 bargaining unit employees, as well as for all aviation safety specialists, to all 535 Congressional representatives. Dr. King’s final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” known for its poetic narrative about having “seen the Promised Land,” was given to striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn. Dr. King remarked, “let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now we've got to keep attention on that.”

NATCA members also join together to advocate for the working conditions necessary to maintain a safe National Airspace System. During the last year, as we have faced this horrible pandemic, we have been so proud to see members taking care of themselves, supporting their brothers and sisters in NATCA and other unions, and helping others working to keep their local communities and our nation safe.

Together, we have the power to overcome other challenges. We must continue in Dr. King's legacy, to be undaunted in our pursuit of equal justice for all. As we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King, let us not forget the compassion he showed to others, no matter their differences. 

In Solidarity,

Paul Rinaldi and Trish Gilbert
2020 Tax Deferral Update
In August, the President issued a memorandum suspending collection of payroll taxes from federal employees from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. This was optional for private sector employers and largely rejected. NATCA did not agree to and was not permitted to negotiate this change in payroll tax withholding.

The suspension of collection did not affect employees’ obligations to pay the taxes, consequently, on Jan. 1, 2021, those taxes became due. Although the IRS issued guidance that the taxes were to be collected during the first four months of 2021, Congress extended that deadline through Dec. 31, 2021. 

Employees who had their taxes deferred, generally those who earn less than $4,000 per pay period, had the first repayment withheld in the amount of approximately $50 with the first pay date of the new year (Jan. 12, 2021). Repayment of the remaining deferred tax balance will be in equal amounts during the remaining 23 pay periods of 2021. Similar to the initial implementation, NATCA did not agree to and is not permitted to negotiate this change in payroll tax withholding.
Union Synergy Committee to
Host Second Town Hall
The Union Synergy Committee invites all NATCA members to join their next town hall on "Involvement."

Tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10, the town hall will be moderated by Southwest Regional Vice President Andrew LeBovidge and Atlanta ATCT (ATL) member Adrienne Turley. Hear our amazing member panelists John Bratcher, Fort Smith ATCT (FSM), Steven Cooper, Charlotte ATCT (CLT), Brad Davidson, Region X Vice President (NRX), Aubrey Farrar, Washington National ATCT (DCA), Dawn Johnson, Atlanta Center (ZTL), Jamie Sanders, Denver/Centennial ATCT (APA), Lakecia Shuron, Reading ATCT (RDG), and Eric Yates, Indianapolis Center (ZID) describe their journeys to becoming involved in NATCA. They will also discuss how NATCA has, and can continue, to find ways to increase involvement throughout our membership. 
Stay tuned for further information. This will be another powerful and engaging discussion with our sisters and brothers who are leading the charge in their activism to strengthen our union.
On the Front Lines during COVID-19,
Keeping the National Airspace Moving
NATCA Members Control Aircraft with Vaccines
NATCA members at Lansing ATCT (LAN) and Grand Rapids ATCT (GRR) were proud last month to control the two aircraft containing the first UPS and FedEx shipments, respectively, of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The UPS-transported vaccines were moved by semi-trucks, escorted by U.S. Marshals, from the Pfizer manufacturing/storage facility in Portage, Mich., on Dec. 13. They departed LAN aboard enroute to the UPS WorldPort at Louisville International Airport. 

The FedEx plane from GRR and this UPS aircraft contained the first doses of the COVID vaccine to be distributed throughout the United States.

“All NATCA members at LAN were honored to be a part of this country's history and are looking forward to being able to provide quality service to all future shipments out of LAN,” said Zac Ploch, LAN FacRep. These photos are of the UPS aircraft at LAN.
Through Solidarity, Pandemic Not Allowed to Delay Final Holiday Package Push
It was Dec. 23, the date of the largest movement of boxes to get to their destination in time for Christmas, and UPS was planning a busy overnight push into and out of its Louisville Standiford (SDF) hub. But a positive COVID-19 case at Indianapolis Center (ZID), with a resulting need for cleaning on the mid shift, created a concern for UPS about the effect on its flights.

Good collaboration was needed between NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration to establish the best time to go ATC-0 for approximately 45 minutes to clean the facility. Success was achieved thanks to a now well-established process that has been in place since April.

About this success, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi stated, “The pandemic continues to challenge aviation. Still, despite these challenges, even during the peak of the holidays, the aviation safety professionals that NATCA represents demonstrated great solidarity and joined together to get the job done and keep the National Airspace System operating efficiently and safely. I am proud of our members involved in this mid shift operation.”

A Joint Crisis Action Team (JCAT) call was held that morning, where all stakeholders met to determine the level of exposure and its effect on the workforce and overall operation. Traffic was analyzed to look for the least disruptive time to the National Airspace System to do the cleaning.

They determined that 2:30 a.m. was the best time to do the 45-minute cleaning. At that point, while the FAA committed to additional staffing in the facilities, NATCA Great Lakes Regional Vice President (RVP) Drew MacQueen and Southern RVP Jim Marinitti quickly began coordinating with FacReps at ZID, Memphis Center (ZME), SDF, and Evansville ATCT (EVV) to address concerns and ask what needed to be done to make this a successful effort.

The mid shift operation turned out to be a big success. There were no reportable delays due to the closure. Some aircraft that flew tower enroute (TEC) experienced additional flying miles, but the teams worked hard to vector aircraft to get the 10 miles in trail for the non-radar/non-com routes as opposed to spacing them out on the ground to get the spacing which would have resulted in possible gridlock and bottlenecks on the ground. In addition, UPS placed a liaison in the tower at SDF to help with aircraft movements and prioritization.
NATCA Mourns the Loss of Retired Region X Member, Rep, and Engineer Dominic Petrelli
NATCA lost a dear friend, engineer, and past Region X (NRX) OSHA Committee member last month. Dominic “Dom” Petrelli joined NATCA in 2001 and retired from the FAA in July 2019. He was 64 years old.
“Every so often in life, we are blessed to have the opportunity to interact with truly upbeat, loving, and kind people who are the salt of the earth,” Region X Vice President Brad Davidson said. “My interactions with Dominic over the years have me recognizing he was one of those individuals. Each of us who have interacted with or knew Dominic well are truly appreciative of the time we were able to spend with him and we recognize the positive influence he had on each of us.”

“Dom’s passion for employee safety was second to none,” said retired member and former OSHA Committee Chairman Mike Odryna. “Every project or workgroup Dominic was part of benefited greatly by his hard work and overwhelming desire to ensure safety at all costs. He would also travel constantly to attend workgroups and OSHECCOM (Occupational Safety, Health, and Environmental Compliance Committee) meetings, and after attending meetings all day, he would be sure to keep caught up on his regular job as a PIM (Program Implementation Manager).”

“Dom was a real leader who set an example for all of us to follow,” added Engineers Northwest Mountain FacRep Don Schmeichel. “He didn't demand anything from anyone else that he wasn't already doing himself. Dom's leadership shaped our safety stand down events into useful, helpful events by encouraging other safety professionals to use their expertise to help others. People followed Dom because he was passionate about keeping employees safe while doing our jobs.”

“I will truly miss my Brother,” said Engineers Eastern Region FacRep Daniel Stefko. “I will miss the many times we surprisingly got to spend a few extra hours together when we had unknowingly booked the same flights. I will miss much rarer times catching up when both of us were in the office on the same day. But most of all, I will miss my friend.”

Described as “the big man with the big heart,” friends say Dom made lasting friendships quickly and his gregarious personality filled the room. A bit of a renaissance man, Dom loved entertaining friends and family. He especially loved cooking for them, specializing in omelets, lasagna, and grape leaves. 

Petrelli is survived by his wife Charlene of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Lydia of Bloomington, Ind.; his son Nicholas and daughter Liza of Beaver, Pa.; and four grandsons.
16th Annual Archie League Medal
of Safety Award Winners' Spotlight
Southwest Region: Larry Bell, Brian Cox, Colin McKinnon, Fort Worth Center (ZFW)
Pilot and flight instructor Anise Shapiro and her student, Jouni Uusitalo (pictured right), were flying Uusitalo’s Piper PA-46 Malibu on a Saturday last spring from Hereford Municipal Airport (HRX), southwest of Amarillo, Texas, to Graham Municipal Airport (RPH), 80 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. Halfway into the nearly 75-minute flight, they lost the engine for the first time in Shapiro’s 23 years of flying. At 14,500 feet and needing quick options, she declared an emergency to Fort Worth Center (ZFW) NATCA member Brian Cox.
Cox asked Shapiro the standard emergency questions of how many souls were on board and how much fuel was remaining. Shapiro responded, “We have two souls, and we have two female pups and four puppies.”

Cox, a 22-year veteran who has also worked at Kansas City Center (ZKC) and Denver Center (ZDV), knew this would be no ordinary day on position, but he was struck by how calm Shapiro was in the face of this urgent situation. Cox also has that trait, according to fellow ZFW member Colin McKinnon. “It’s definitely awesome that it was Brian working, because he’s probably the calmest guy in our building, certainly in our area,” McKinnon said.
The Malibu, nicknamed the “Starship Enterprise” by Uusitalo for its relative spaciousness for transporting dogs in their crates, was being used for a Pilots N Paws mission. Shapiro and Uusitalo flew several of these flights last year, each in West Texas. On this flight, the engine failure immediately put Shapiro into instructor mode. 

“I practice it (engine out) all the time and run my students through it,” she said. “A lot of things are going through your mind. I think we were very fortunate to have two pilots onboard. I told him what to do, declared the emergency to get help, and immediately pulled the checklist out so we could start running through it all to see if we could get the engine restarted.”
Cox (pictured bottom left) immediately set to work to find landing options. He was quickly joined by Larry Bell (pictured top left), a former accountant, who was the Controller in Charge for this shift, and McKinnon (pictured right), a pilot, who was assigned to Cox’s D-side and pulled up the visual flight rules chart for Cox to use. Bell and McKinnon were both hired in 2012 and have worked at ZFW their entire careers.

“The first thing I was trying to do was determine where is the nearest airport because, unfortunately, where she was in a spot east of Lubbock is where there are not a lot of airports,” Cox said. 

One was Harrison Field of Knox City, Texas (F75), which was at Shapiro’s 1 o’clock and 25 miles away. She had a visual, and an encouraging glide ratio report. Unfortunately, with the trademark strong winds of West Texas forcing a quicker loss of altitude than expected, Shapiro needed another option. 

McKinnon took over the ZFW 49 high sector frequencies to help alleviate frequency congestion for Cox. McKinnon also helped identify the closest highway. Bell, a Texas Tech alum who often drives to the campus in Lubbock, was familiar with the area and knew it was Texas State Highway 114. But Shapiro said from the air, it looked less like a “highway” and more like a typical West Texas two-lane mostly dirt road, lined with fences and mesquite trees. She declined that as a safe landing option.

Shapiro and Uusitalo spotted a final option: An open wheat field with no trees or cattle that had just been cleared of hay. Cox gave her a phone number to call when she was on the ground to expedite the process of search and rescue. The landing was smooth. No injuries. Bell quickly found the coordinates of the landing spot and forwarded them to the operations manager. Help arrived about 20 minutes later and they even brought water for the dogs.

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.”

McKinnon said he worked an aircraft with engine trouble a few months’ prior to this incident. “I had the same feeling of, ‘oh man, please, make sure she’s on the ground safely,’” he said. “I thought she did an exceptional job.”

“I think we all agree that if we have an aircraft land in a field, we all sit there afterwards and think, ‘what could we have done better?’” Bell said. “But in this situation, I think we made all the right calls.”

“I want to thank Larry, Colin, and Brian for being such outstanding ambassadors and representatives of the true definition of a team, a workforce, and professionals that stepped in to rise to the moment,” said ZFW FacRep Nick Daniels said. “I couldn’t be more proud. They make us all look good.”
Southwest Region Archie League Winners Podcast

Hear Bell, Cox, and McKinnon tell their story, and discuss their efforts to guide the Piper PA-46 Malibu to a safe landing, in the latest episode of the NATCA Podcast. Click here to listen.
Apply for a 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.
Union Plus Scholarship Program: Jan. 31 Deadline
Over 3,200 students in union families have received nearly $5 million in money for college through the Union Plus Scholarship Program. Awards are based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need, and commitment to the values of organized labor. At a time when many families have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Plus is especially glad to support hardworking students as they further their educations and pave the path for future success.

The 2021 Union Plus Scholarship application is open and entirely online, allowing students to complete the application in stages and save answers before submitting. The deadline to submit your application is Jan. 31, 2021.

To access the Union Plus scholarship application, click here.
NCF Presents the Elena Nash
Community Volunteer of the Year Award
The NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) created the Elena Nash Community Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018, in honor of its former president. This award is given to a deserving individual who volunteers and helps make a difference in his/her community and in the lives of others. 

Congratulations to Portland TRACON (P80) member Krissy Lewandowski. Prior to the ongoing pandemic, she and her family volunteered at least once per month at different charities around Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. She and her husband, Steve, teach and instill these thoughtful actions and values into their two children, Clara (18) and Nate (16). They help organize and participate in every backpack and holiday program P80 hosts.

“Not only is she amazing and compassionate, but she continues to be an incredible example of the importance of giving back to the community and so many others,” said NCF President Corrie Conrad. “It is for this reason that the NCF Board voted unanimously to choose Krissy as the Elena Nash Community Volunteer of the Year.”
Step Up to Join NCF's Step Challenge
The NATCA Charitable Foundation step challenge is in full swing, but you can still join and compete! The MoveSpring app used to track steps for the challenge will backlog your steps up to 30 days. Click here to participate and pay your registration fee.

⚠️Your receipt will contain a code that you will need, in order to join the step challenge on the MoveSpring app.⚠️
National Office Staff Employee
Spotlight: May Silverstein
We have an amazing National Office staff that our membership can be very proud of. They work each day and currently are working remotely committed to providing our members with the very best service and representation in organized labor. Today we’re excited to highlight one of the newest members of our NATCA family: Labor Relations Staff Attorney May Silverstein. Thank you for all you do, May!
Where are you from, or what places have you lived?
Silverstein: I am a rarity in that I am originally from Washington, D.C., and was born at Washington Hospital Center. At the age of four, my family moved to Fairfax, Va. During college, I moved to Ithaca, N.Y. Following college, I have lived in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. before finding my home in Silver Spring, Md., about a mile outside of the city.

Where did you go to school, or what other education do you have?
Silverstein: After graduating from high school a year early, I attended community college at Northern Virginia Community College before transferring to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where I concentrated in labor economics and collective bargaining. I took approximately four years off from school after completing my undergraduate education. During that time, I worked as a Strategic Researcher at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a Research Analyst in Collective Bargaining at the AFL-CIO. I then attended the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, with a concentration in labor and employment law, and a merit scholarship.

How did you come to work at NATCA?
Silverstein: I came to NATCA just ahead of the pandemic, starting my employment on January 7, 2020. I knew of NATCA’s reputation for being a fantastic union and staff-friendly to boot. I was thrilled to bring my skills, specifically those in federal labor law that I acquired as a six-year attorney with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), to NATCA. I have not looked back since!

Do you have family members who are involved in unions?
Silverstein: My parents were always big believers in unions, as both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were active in their unions — the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (AFT), and International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), respectively. While my parents did not belong to unions themselves, they are supportive of the labor movement, and proud of my efforts within it!

What's the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff? What's the most challenging?
Silverstein: By far the most rewarding aspect of the job is working with our intelligent, sophisticated, and amazing members! I love helping them find their voices, and negotiating benefits on their behalf. The most challenging aspect is getting the Agency to a "yes" during negotiations, but, with some strategy and creativity, it is a challenge that can be met head-on!

Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA?
Silverstein: Outside of NATCA, I serve as the Treasurer for the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Federal Labor & Employee Relations Professionals (SFLERP), which is composed of professionals engaged in federal labor relations in all three segments, including management, organized labor, and neutrals, and promotes cooperative labor relations. Also, although a self-admitted dog person, I am the Secretary/Pro Bono Legal Counsel for A Cat’s Life Rescue, facilitating trap, neuter, and release (TNR) efforts, medical care for feral cats, and cat adoptions. When I am not performing my NATCA job duties or working with local nonprofits, I am re-learning to play bass guitar, rocking obedience and agility training with my 1.5 year old rescue mutt and best friend Roxanne, going on hikes, and challenging myself to make soft pretzels.

Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
Silverstein: My favorite moments since coming to NATCA have been forming a rapport with our awesome and impressive regional leaders, and getting to know my equally amazing and impressive colleagues. Prior to quarantine and remote work, I loved getting the opportunity to attend the Train the Trainer class with the NATCA National Training Committee where I refined some skills and was inspired by our regional leaders.
Union Members Feature:
Alphabet Workers Union
NATCA continues to highlight our union sisters and brothers who are working and organizing during the COVID-19 national emergency. Today, we celebrate our brothers and sisters in the newly formed union of more than 400 Google engineers and other workers. The new union, called the Alphabet Workers Union after Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was organized in secret for the better part of a year and elected its leadership last month. The group is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, a union that represents workers in telecommunications and media in the United States and Canada. 

The union’s creation is highly unusual for the tech industry, which has long resisted efforts to organize its largely white-collar work force. It follows increasing demands by employees at Google for policy overhauls on pay, harassment and ethics, and is likely to escalate tensions with top leadership.

Click here to read about the work they did to create their union.
Take Advantage of NATCA's
Benefits with Lenovo
Refresh your technology through Lenovo and receive up to 52% off, now through Jan. 31 with all the bells and whistles. 

Amp your experience with the best accessories and upgraded warranty services.

Lenovo’s award-winning service and hassle-free buying experience is tailored to fit your needs. Whether for work, home, gifts, or gaming, you’ll receive: FREE shipping on all web orders, personalized product suggestions and solutions, warranty service upgrades, and business financing. Plus, sign up for MyLenovo Rewards and earn rewards for future purchases from everything you buy through our Lenovo Savings Program. Registration is quick and easy, and gets you early access to sales, first dibs on new products, and cash back for future purchases.

Click here to start shopping.
NATCA Academy 2021 In-Person
Course Schedule
The 2021 NATCA Academy In-Person Course Schedule has been announced. 

If you are interested in attending any NATCA Academy courses, please visit the NATCA Membership Portal to sign up. Once you have logged in, select “List of Events” from the Events menu tab. Then, select “NATCA Academy.” Registrants will be notified approximately 35 days from the course start date of whether they have been confirmed to attend the course.

If you must cancel your reservation for any reason, notify NATCA Training Manager Carolyn Kamara immediately at 800-266-0895, ext. 4854. If you do not cancel by the Thursday preceding the class, your local will be billed for the cost of your cancellation, in accordance with NATCA Standing Rule F-17.

Do not book air travel or make plans to attend any NATCA Academy training without prior approval from your Facility Representative, RVP, or the Administrative Assistant in your region. Refer to the National Constitution Standing Rules Policy and Position Statements for a full explanation of all standing rules.

If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn.
Representative Training 1 (RT-1) – Las Vegas
June 7-11 | Aug. 9-13 | Oct. 18-22
Secretary and Treasurer Training (STT) - Las Vegas
June 8-9 | Aug. 10-11 | Oct. 20-21
Federal Contract Tower Training (FCT) – Washington, D.C.
Aug. 17-18
Safety Advocacy Training (SAT) - Las Vegas
July 13-14 | Nov. 17-18
Legislative Activism Training (LAT) - Las Vegas, NV
July 13-14 | Sept. 8-9 | Nov. 17-18
Advanced Legislative Activism Training (ALAT) – Washington, DC
Aug. 24-25 | Oct. 20-21
Occupational Safety and Health and Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs Training (OSHA/OWCP) - Las Vegas, NV
July 27-28 | Dec. 1-2
Drug and Alcohol (DAC) - Las Vegas, NV
July 27-28 | Dec. 1-2
Training Review Board (TRB) - Location To Be Determined
Feb. 9-11 | March 16-18 | April 13-15 | May 18-20 | June 15-17 | July 20-22 |
Aug. 24-26 | Sept. 21-23 | October (TBD)
Operation Traffic Counts Across the U.S.