In This Issue:
Honoring the Work of Our Members on 9/11
Nineteen years later, the scope and the gravity of what NATCA members did in service to their country during the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 remains as vivid to them as ever. In a new collection of written accounts of their shifts that day, many members express that their pride at what they accomplished, and the heartbreak and horror at what they witnessed, will never be forgotten.

On the anniversary of those terrible attacks, our Union honors our members’ service on that fateful day.

When terrorists attacked the United States with hijacked aircraft, and the order went out to land every aircraft at the nearest airport, controllers guided 700 aircraft to land in the first four minutes, 2,800 in the first hour, and over 4,500 within the first three hours. Over a million passengers landed without incident. “The landing of those aircraft stands as the single greatest feat in all of ATC history,” NATCA President Emeritus John Carr said.

Said Boston Center (ZBW) member Kevin Bianchi: “I have always been very proud of our great profession and professionals; never as much as I witnessed on that day.”

By early afternoon EDT, the skies were cleared (click here to view the time lapse of the Sept. 11, 2001 airspace closure) and controllers had their first opportunity to think about what had occurred, and their emotions took hold. They checked on family members. Retired member Mark DiPalmo, who worked at New York Center (ZNY) on 9/11, discovered that nobody could get a hold of his brother, Brian, a New York City firefighter.

“He was to be on duty until 9 a.m. that morning,” DiPalmo said. “Some initial reports said as many as 500 firefighters had perished in the World Trade Center towers’ collapse. I would later find out that my brother had been relieved that morning and was not injured but was back in Manhattan helping with rescue efforts. The crew that relieved him at his firehouse that morning was not that fortunate; seven of them had perished when the South Tower collapsed.”
NBC News, 2002: The Air Traffic Controllers of 9/11
NBC News aired an hour-long feature on Sept. 11, 2002, hosted by Tom Brokaw, about the story of the air traffic controllers who worked on 9/11 and witnessed the horror that was unfolding in their airspace. NATCA members from facilities in the Boston, New York, Washington, and Cleveland areas were included. Watch the story below.
The day was particularly difficult for retired Newark ATCT (EWR) member Michael Reilly. His hospitalized father was given the terrible news that his condition was terminal. Reilly visited with him before heading into work in the afternoon, a drive from Teaneck, N.J., that is not far normally, but on this day it took three hours.

“As the night went on and the airspace was closed except for military and rescue, we operated under blackout conditions with a dark runway,” Reilly said. “I was informed a Coast Guard C-130 was inbound and I turned on the lights until the plane landed. The sad part was the plane was dropping off 10,000 body bags.”

Retired ZNY member Daniel Bohleber grew up in Brooklyn, across the East River from lower Manhattan. “I watched them build the towers,” he said. “The ribbon-cutting ceremony was on my 21st birthday, April 4, 1973.”

Twenty-eight years later, on 9/11, Bohleber was working the Atlantic Sector, being asked by a supervisor to pull up a primary target being tracked by Area B and keep an eye on it because it was headed his way. That was American Airlines Flight 11, north of the city along the Hudson River. 

“A little while later, we lost the target,” Bohleber said. “Since he might have gone down low we figured we might have lost it in the clutter around the city. Just then I saw the supervisor put his phone down and came over to us and informed us his wife, who was at home watching the news, told him a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I told him, ‘well that’s about where I lost the target.’”

Bohleber’s younger brother, James, was working the airspace where United Airlines Flight 175 was being tracked.

At nearby New York TRACON (N90), member Don Krivohlavy was working with a trainee just before 9 a.m. when ZNY called to report the approaching target that was UAL175. A supervisor said it was probably a hijacking. Krivohlavy and about 3-4 other controllers tracked the target on their scopes. “When we saw him, he was at 24,000 feet, coming from the west and he started descending,” he said. 

He kept working his other flights and issuing the traffic that was the descending target. “It doesn’t click then that something tragic is going to happen,” he said. “You’re watching and you’re going through your working day. You’re trained to deal with the situation and keep working.” Krivohlavy watched as the target disappeared over Manhattan just moments before a co-worker came into the control room to report what he had just seen on TV, UAL175 hitting the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
At facilities around the country, members’ shifts that day were also filled with their own tension, unique circumstances, and challenges, but also the sense of the shared responsibility they all had to the unprecedented shutdown of the National Airspace System.

Retired member Sam Hyte recalls one particularly sad story from working at Memphis Center (ZME). A couple of hours after all planes were grounded, except for military flights, Hyte says Nashville ATCT (BNA) called for a release of a lifeguard flight to Omaha, Neb., with a heart on board. Hyte called the Command Center to ask for a release of the aircraft, but the request was rejected.

“I relayed the info back to BNA Tower and about an hour later they were able to get one of their National Guard C130s to fly the heart there,” Hyte said. “So I called the Command Center back and asked for a release on the C130 but they still said no.They were just not letting anyone fly that day. The patient never did get that heart that day and I heard that the patient ended up passing away. Those terrorists got one more life that day.”
Even with the skies cleared, the day was not over at ZBW where they were informed that a fast-moving unidentified aircraft was heading toward Nashua, N.H. Fearing that the facility was a target, employees were directed to evacuate and meet at a nearby hotel.

“A caravan of controllers jumped in their cars, drove down the street, and spent an hour at the Holiday Inn, calling our families to check in and debriefing each other about what just happened,” ZBW Member Jeff Aulbach said. “Reality hit when we received the ‘all clear’ and drove back to ZBW to find a Nashua Police Department officer guarding the gate with an M-16 in hand. We were at war. The eerie feeling of walking back into an empty control room to resume our duties of watching a sky devoid of aircraft except for combat ready F-16s has stayed with me since that day.”

After the airspace was cleared, the rest of the shift was quiet, says retired Washington Dulles ATCT (IAD) member Terry Walsh, with only the occasional military or law enforcement aircraft in the air.

“When I came down from the tower, sometime around noon, I found that some evening watch controllers had already started arriving,” Walsh said. “Nobody had called them. They just wanted to help. True sisters and brothers.”

The next day, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Krivohlavy was off and visited a favorite fishing spot where he used to watch the arrivals into New York-Kennedy (JFK) all day long. But not on that day. There were no planes in the sky, just plumes of smoke from Manhattan.

“That’s when it sunk in,” Krivohlavy said. “I could not believe what I went through the day before. You’re trained to deal with a hijack, or a medical emergency, but now you see the result of what had happened. It takes a while to have it sink in and realize that the Manhattan skyline will never be the same.”
NATCA Will Roll Out Historical Archive Next Year
Today, as part of this 19th anniversary, NATCA is announcing an effort to create an archive of accounts from current and retired members who were working that day and who were affected by the attacks. As we get further away from that tragic day, this archive will be a vital way to recount the important role that controllers played in protecting our nation from possible further attacks. We plan to roll this archive out publicly a year from now on the 20th anniversary of September 11. We invite anyone interested in sharing a statement describing their experiences 19 years ago to send their email accounts to [email protected].
RDU Member Says Unum 'Quite Literally'
Has Been a Lifesaver
Having insurance grants peace of mind when the unexpected happens. The NATCA group long-term disability program from Unum is the insurance that provides protection and peace of mind in the event you lose your medical or are disabled. Raleigh Durham ATCT (RDU) member Richard Chaves (pictured left) tells his story of how Unum helped his family when the unexpected struck: 

“After a severe headache that lasted a week, a CT scan and brain MRI in April 2019 found a grade III anaplastic oligodendroglioma (a malignant brain tumor, and along with it, an aggressive form of brain cancer). It was removed in late May 2019. I’m recovering now, but after my diagnosis I wondered and worried often about my future as an air traffic controller and career with the FAA.

“And with the thought of losing my job, I was even more stressed about the financial implications of a two-night stay in the hospital, a major brain surgery, and the required post-operative care, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

“I started buying into NATCA’s Unum long-term disability program back in 2015. Thanks to this program, especially after this test of faith, I knew that I did not have to worry about paying the bills, the mortgage, and the car payment. I knew that my wife and I would be financially safe and secure. I knew that I would not lose my house because of medical bills. This LTD insurance, quite literally, has been a lifesaver.

“To anyone who has a doubt about whether or not they should sign up for this NATCA-Unum long term disability insurance, I tell them my story and what a wonderful ‘security blanket’ this program has been. The price of admission is negligible, and worth every single cent. You never know when you’re going to encounter a major speed bump on the road of life. I did. And I am so grateful that NATCA and Unum have had my back this entire time.”

Visit for more information and to enroll. 
Unum Campaign Prize Drawing: ZSU Member Winner
Each week, NATCA will be doing a prize drawings from the members who have signed up for the Unum long term disability insurance. This week, we would like to congratulate San Juan CERAP (ZSU) member Antonio Baez-Bonilla. "Life is unpredictable, you never know what’s going to happen next," he says. "For example, who would've thought we would be living through a pandemic. I consider myself a very active and athletic person and love to put myself up for any challenge. But you never know when things might go the wrong way. But even when doing that, I always prioritize my safety and health. Now knowing I have this Unum insurance, I can wake up and go to sleep relaxed knowing that I'm covered."

Congratulations Antonio and thank you for supporting and participating in NATCA’s long term disability policy. Sign up today to be entered into upcoming drawings. Visit for more information and to enroll.
Union Synergy Committee Town Hall
The Union Synergy (US) Committee's first Town Hall is happening next Thursday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. EDT. This event is only available to current and retired dues paying members. Moderated by NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert, we will be bringing difficult conversations and real solutions for the growth of our Union. We will be focusing on inclusion and how it has affected our members and also how it can promote diversity, involvement, and belonging. Fill out the form to receive the Zoom link and information.

We look forward to talking with you and if you haven't already, join the Union Synergy Facebook group
An Airline Pilot and a Controller from ZBW Discover an Important Shared Connection
A retiring airline pilot had a serendipitous exchange with Boston Center (ZBW) member Ashleigh Goldberg (pictured above) on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Delta Captain Paul Holmes (pictured right) was piloting his Boeing 777 home from Germany - the final flight of his career - when he entered Goldberg's airspace. She had been expecting the flight, as she had been asked to wish him well. During the friendly exchange, Goldberg asked Holmes where he spent his career. That's when things got interesting.

Holmes recounted that he spent some time in Hawaii, flew the 747 out of Minneapolis, and spent a few years in Detroit. It had been a great career, he said. Goldberg mentioned that her grandfather (pictured above with member Ashleigh Goldberg) had retired from the 747 out of Minneapolis about 40 years ago.

"What's his name?" Holmes asked.

"William Hochbrunn," Goldberg responded.

"Bill Hochbrunn was your grandfather?" asked Holmes.
First Officer Jeff Espenship (pictured left) recounts the connection. "She said his name and I saw Paul’s jaw drop and eyes light up,” he said. 

Hochbrunn actually hired Holmes as a pilot at Northwest Airlines 40 years ago. Hochbrunn also gave the welcome speech to Holmes’s new hire class the month before he retired. Holmes told Goldberg how honored he was to be talking to the granddaughter of the man who hired him and that it must have been fate that was ending his airline flying career speaking on the radio to his granddaughter. It had truly come full circle.

Goldberg said that while listening to Holmes talk about her grandfather, she was shaking.

"My grandpa literally gave his life to Northwest Airlines,” she said. “It was his passion. He was an amazing family man, but Northwest was one of his children. He loved that airline.” 

She also said she will always remember the radio encounter with Holmes, adding, "It was just exciting and disbelief and, honestly, a twist of fate in such an amazing way!"

Click here to listen to the audio recording between member Ashleigh Goldberg and Captain Paul Holmes.
Operation Traffic Counts Across the U.S.
Registration Still Open for NCF 25 for 25 Pushup Challenge; Silent Auction Now Open
September is National Suicide Awareness Month and the NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) is raising awareness of mental health awareness and promoting exercise that aids both physical and mental well-being. NATCA members and their family and friends are invited to participate in a pushup challenge that is raising money for NCF, which is supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). So far, the campaign has raised more than $41,000. Please help us drive that total higher!

From Oct. 1-25, participants will do 25 pushups a day for 25 straight days. For more information and to sign up, text NCF25Days to 76278 and then follow the prompts for your name and address (to send you a T-shirt), or click here for more information.

After registering, all participants of the pushup challenge will be provided a personalized fundraising link. They can share this fundraising link in their social media and with friends and family. The pushup participants, who raise the most money through the end of the campaign, will be eligible to win some additional great prizes available. The top five fundraisers will get to choose one of the five special prize packages, the details of which can be found here.
New This Week: Silent Auction Also Supports
In addition, starting this week and running through the end of October, a silent auction is now open to also raise money for NCF and AFSP. NATCA members, friends, and family can bid on wide selection of great auction items. Please click here to learn more about the auction, register to participate, and bid on items.
National Office Staff Employee Spotlight: Grant Mulkey
We have an amazing National Office staff working each day to provide our members with the very best service and representation in organized labor. In this issue of the Insider, we feature Labor Relations Staff Attorney Grant Mulkey.

Where are you from or what places have you lived? 
Grant Mulkey: I grew up in Liberal, Kansas, a town of 20,000 people in southwest Kansas. I attended college in northeast Missouri and then moved to the Washington D.C. area on Dec. 31, 2004 to intern on Capitol Hill. I’ve been in the area ever since, and have lived all over Northern Virginia: Arlington, Falls Church, Annandale, and now in Centreville with my wife and two small children.
Where did you go to school or what other education do you have? 
Mulkey: I went to Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. for college and received a BA in Political Science. I then attended law school in Washington, D.C., at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.
How did you come to work at NATCA?
Mulkey: I attended law school with Greg Shoemaker, NATCA’s Policy Counsel, and we worked together previously for several years at a small union-side law firm. He always told me how great it was to work at NATCA, and he encouraged me to apply when there was an opening for a Labor Relations Staff Attorney.
What's the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff? What's the most challenging? 
Mulkey: The most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff is being able to effect positive change on behalf of the membership, whether by fighting for an individual member in an arbitration hearing or by negotiating an agreement with the Agency that affects every member. The most challenging part of my job is addressing the myriad novel issues that come to me that have virtually no precedent.
Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA? 
Mulkey: I enjoy playing golf, playing with my children, and finding TV shows to binge watch with my wife.
Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA? 
Mulkey: I’ve had so many great moments at NATCA, but two favorites come to mind. The first was winning an arbitration that overturned an indefinite suspension and resulted in a member receiving seven months of back pay. The second was participating in NATCA’s rally to end the shutdown on Jan. 10, 2019. I have never been more proud to be a part of the labor movement than I was that day.
Virtual Learning Schedule
Building on the success of classes in its first couple of months, organizers of the NATCA Academy have announced a new schedule of classes for virtual learning through the end of September. 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.

Below is the schedule of upcoming classes in the next few days. Register today.
NATCA Virtual Academy Series: Safety
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, like many organizations, NATCA has had to rethink getting information to its members, canceling in-person classes and events, and transitioning to virtual courses for the time being. While some of these courses are not new, the pandemic has brought with it the ability for NATCA to offer new and popular courses to many more members. NATCA's Chrissy Padgett explains how our Union wants to share these courses with you.

What have been the positive aspects of transitioning this course to virtual learning? What have been some of the challenges? 
Chrissy Padgett: The positive aspects of transitioning these courses to virtual learning is that we’re able to reach a much broader audience. Members that were previously limited by travel restrictions or had issues getting off the schedule to attend the training in person can now join online from their home. 

Some of the challenges of the virtual learning has been the personal interaction or lack thereof. We knew that would be a hurdle going in so we try to do everything we can to keep the interaction and engagement that has made all of our in-person classes so successful. I know the virtual classes that I’ve been a part of, whether it was as an instructor or a participant, have really made an effort to maintain that personal interaction even staying on for discussions until the last participant logs off. 
Why is it important for NATCA members to participate in these courses?
Padgett: It’s so important for NATCA members to participate in the virtual learning because this is such a unique opportunity where pretty much every aspect of NATCA is being offered as an online class. All members should be taking advantage of this chance to learn more about our Union and what interests them. 

What is the benefit members gain from taking these courses?
Padgett: The benefits that members gain from taking these courses is learning more about what NATCA is doing on their behalf and on behalf of their profession and how they can get involved. Members can also gain a better understanding of the roles that they play in their union and ways they can help improve our Union. 
Safety Advocacy Training
This week we will focus on the Safety Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) webinar with Atlanta Center (ZTL) member and instructor Cher Oxenburg. She was asked to help in the development of the Safety Advocacy Training about two and a half years ago and it was a natural progression for her to begin teaching the course after that. Her favorite part of teaching NATCA courses is the interaction and feedback from members. “I take the feedback and revise my teaching tactics and the course, but the interaction is also helpful in my role as voluntary safety reporting rep,” she says.
How was the material for this course conceived? Who contributed to developing the course?
Cher Oxenburg: This course was developed by taking parts of the Safety Reporting module from NATCA’s two-day Safety Advocacy Training and adapting it to work for a virtual, condensed course. Steve Hansen, Chrissy Padgett, Erin Murdock, Anthony Hughes, Nathan Vinson, and myself contributed to the development of this course.

If members only take away one thing from this course, what would you want them to remember? What’s most important?
Oxenburg: If members only remember one thing from this course, it would be the importance of filing ATSAP reports. Not only does it frequently meet a controller’s requirement for reporting, it also helps mitigate risks in the National Airspace System (NAS). 

For members who enjoyed learning the content of this course, what course would you recommend they delve into next?
Oxenburg: For members who enjoyed this course, I would recommend taking the NATCA Partnership for Safety course next. It shows one way in which ATSAP data is used. 
Oxenburg adds that one of the challenges during this time is trying to keep members engaged and the class interactive in the virtual environment. "But, by being active in NATCA, members get a better understanding of the intricate part NATCA plays in keeping the NAS safe."
Join NCF and Support
Breast Cancer Awareness
On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, the NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) is selling tumblers in to raise money for NCF and raise awareness for breast cancer. Order your tumbler through this link by Sept. 20 to receive it by Oct. 1.
Union Members Feature: IBEW
We continue to highlight our union sisters and brothers who are also essential workers during the COVID-19 national emergency. Today we thank our sisters and brothers in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Many IBEW members are hard at work providing essential services, including powering overflow hospitals to deal with rising demand due to the pandemic. Others are giving their time to help out local communities. Learn more at IBEW.
Aviation Labor News

CNBC: United, pilots union reach agreement to avoid close to 3,000 furloughs - United Airlines and the union that represents the carrier’s 13,000 pilots have reached an agreement in principle to avoid furloughs of close to 3,000 aviators.
FOX BUSINESS: Airline industry still 'right in the middle' of coronavirus crisis: Association of Flight Attendants President - As U.S. businesses begin to climb out of the coronavirus pandemic ruins, the travel and airline industries are still struggling to lift off.

Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends Weekend” that the return is “just not happening” as Americans are still hesitant to fly.
THE HILL: Airline industry warns it won't fully rebound until 2024 - The airline industry warned it won’t fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, Airlines for America (A4A) announced Thursday.

A4A, which represents the major U.S. airlines, predicted that demand for air travel won’t return to where it was in February and early March for a few years.

“We don’t see any significant increase in demand. We don’t see it fully rebounding until 2024,” A4A CEO Nicholas Calio said on a call with reporters. “We are doing everything we can to keep our companies afloat. People talk about the situation being dire. It is dire. Right now, we’re fighting for survival. No bones about it.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Cutbacks hitting regional airports and surrounding communities hard - The number of people starting to fly again is slowly creeping up even as several airlines announced continued cutbacks on where they fly.

When the pandemic paralyzed air travel in March, airlines quickly cut service and regional airports felt the impact first.

“They matter for business travelers, they matter for all travelers, they create wealth in a community,” said Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
Retirement Webinars Scheduled for September and October
Upcoming retirement seminars have been merged and reformatted to be webinars due to the COVID-19 national emergency. They are open to any member nationwide. The webinars in September and October are as follows:  

  • September 29: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
  • October 6: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
  • October 28: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. PDT

IMPORTANT: If you had previously signed up for these seminars and are unable to attend virtually, please consider canceling your reservation as space is limited for virtual classes as well.

To register for both the seminars and the webinars: use the NATCA Portal, Click on the “events” tab in the main menu at the top of the screen. 

For questions or any problems with registration, please contact Lisa Head at the National Office: 202-628-5451 or [email protected].
NATCA Member Resources
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) MOU

On May 8, NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding Human Resource Policy Manual (HRPM) Policy Bulletin 115, Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Policy Bulletin 115 and the MOU specifically address the FAA’s implementation of FFCRA, which was signed into law on March 18. FFCRA provides expanded paid leave options for NATCA bargaining unit employees (BUEs) who have been affected by COVID-19. FFCRA provides two forms of paid leave: Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which can be utilized for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave quick reference guide here.

Expanded FMLA Leave quick reference guide here.

FFCRA Frequently Asked Questions can be viewed here.

Download the full MOU here.

Download only the FFCRA leave request form attachment here.
Comparison of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave here.