In This Issue:
A History of Women in the Labor Movement
The history of America’s working women is a history of advocating for the abolition of slavery, the right to vote, the right to unionize, the welfare of children, and the extension of human rights to all. Despite the obstacles and stereotypes imposed by society, America’s working women have continued to persevere. 

As far back as the late 1700s, women have been an integral part of the workplace. Many working women were confined to jobs where they were routinely exploited, especially those who worked in factories and mills up to 70 hours a week for $3 or less. In the early 1800s, women helped their male counterparts strengthen union memberships, even while they and their issues were often ignored. Women participated in work stoppages when employers sought to cut workers’ paychecks.
In 1844, the first all-female labor union – the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) – was formed to combat unfair wages and treatment in the textile mills of New England. In 1866, newly freed Black women in the South also formed unions and struck for higher wages and equal rights.
The Knights of Labor was established in 1869. It was the first large-scale national labor federation in the U.S. In 1881, its members voted to admit women. The organization grew significantly in the mid-1880s after a series of successful strikes. Stressing equal pay regardless of sex or color, the Knights relied heavily on the organizing efforts of women such as Mary Harris Jones, better known as "Mother Jones." 
By the 1890s, another newly-created union was making its mark on society, the American Federation of Labor (AFL). However, its first president, Samuel Gompers, did not believe in women working outside the home. In 1903, working-class women joined forces with upper class women in the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) in order to persuade male-dominated unions to take women workers more seriously. 
NATCA honors all of its female members, past and present. Our Union is brighter and stronger because you are in it, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of all our members.
NATCA Leaders Give Words of Wisdom in Honor of Women's History Month (Part III)
In celebration of Women’s History Month, many of NATCA's female leaders from locals around the country shared their responses to a series of questions. We have been featuring their statements in recent publications. In this issue of the Insider, we share some selected responses to the final questions. To see all of the questions and answers, please visit the NATCA website.
What does Women's History mean to you and why is it important?
Kimberly Harris, Airports ADO Rep, Region X Airports Division (ARP); Engineer/Southwest Region (ESW)
Corrie Conrad, FacRep, Portland, Ore., ATCT (PDX) and President of the NATCA Charitable Foundation
Melissa Mowry, Secretary, Milwaukee/Mitchell ATCT (MKE)
If I can be honest, the fact that we have to have a month shows just how much work needs to be done to achieve equality and inclusivity. On a daily basis, women are not seen in the same vein as men. Sometimes, it appears that our voices are silenced due to old habits and stereotypes. I hope it allows more people to honor and appreciate women, and for women who see themselves as less than and misrepresented. When it comes to making decisions and having impacts on our community, workplace, and positions in aviation, we bring a perspective that mirrors the landscape of our society. We just need to catch up. - Kimberly Harris, Airports ADO Rep, Region X Airports Division (ARP); Engineer/Southwest Region (ESW)
This month is a time to remember women's trailblazing efforts in the past and a time to inspire women to challenge the status quo, as they strive to become leaders in their daily lives and their workplace. - Corrie Conrad, FacRep, Portland, Ore., ATCT (PDX)
In life, it can become easy to take things for granted. Time passes and memories fade of the struggles that existed for yourself or for someone else. That is why Women’s History Month is so important, in order to reaffirm and remind everyone of all that women have overcome, especially in aviation. Each strong woman I meet in ATC inspires me and reminds me of the importance of the comradery we all share with one another. They push boundaries and challenge every roadblock in their way. This month is not only about honoring and showing appreciation to those women and the struggles they have overcome, but also the trailblazers that came before them in order to make it possible. Every day I am proud to be a woman in aviation and I feel the best way we can all show gratitude to all those amazing women past and present is to stand up, support one another and look forward to making the path a little brighter for the next generation. - Melissa Mowry, Secretary, Milwaukee/Mitchell ATCT (MKE)
How have you, throughout your life and career, challenged or proven wrong the limits and labels others may have put on you because of your gender?
Ariel Ortega, FacRep, Columbus, Ga., ATCT (CSG)
Shyan Lasater, Secretary/Treasurer, Palm Springs ATCT (PSP)
Pam Rusk, National IT Rep, Region X Financial Management (AFN); Engineer/Central Region (ECE)
Throughout my years in the Marine Corps and the FAA, I’ve often been the only or one of the very few women on crew. There's often the stigma of having to work twice as hard and only being given half the credit. As my career progressed, I proved that my dedication and work ethic are what set me apart from everyone else, not my gender. Now as a FacRep, I encourage my peers to set any goal they are willing to work for and let the results of their work speak for itself. - Ariel Ortega, FacRep, Columbus, Ga., ATCT (CSG)
While other little girls were asking for Barbies, I was asking for model airplanes. I have always been the outlier. I am in a field that's mostly men, in a profession considered to be rather conservative. I've got tattoos, colorful hair, and I'm not afraid to speak my mind. I have learned that being part of the Union has given me a voice I knew I always had, but didn't know how to apply. Seeing other strong women thrive in our field has given me hope that change is possible, and it starts with me. - Shyan Lasater, Secretary/Treasurer, Palm Springs ATCT (PSP)
As an 18-year-old, I enlisted in the Navy in the advanced electronics program as a Cytological Technician - Maintenance, when it was a male-dominated field and began a long career of more than 40 years as an Electronics Technician and Information Technology Specialist. I showed that women not only could do this type of work but could excel at it and mentor others in the field. I also broke other norms, such as working independently and remotely since 2001, when I accepted an FAA HQ position but worked from Kansas City, Mo., leading to what would later become telework. - Pam Rusk, National IT Rep, Region X Financial Management (AFN); Engineer/Central Region (ECE)
If you could meet any influential woman, alive or dead, who would you choose? What questions would you ask her?
Amy Lark, FacRep, Potomac TRACON (PCT)
Felicia Reeves, National ARP Rep, Region X Airports Division (ARP); Engineer/Southern Region (ESO)
I would like to meet the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. I would ask her how, knowing that she is one of the smartest people in the room, and mostly among men, that has affected her leadership and decision-making. I would also ask her how she feels about not only being elected as Chancellor of Germany, but also assuming the role of de facto leader of the European Union. - Amy Lark, FacRep, Potomac TRACON (PCT)
I would like to meet Mary Jackson, the Aerospace Engineer for NASA. I would ask her what her source of inspiration was to be able to endure the adversities she experienced at NASA. - Felicia Reeves, National ARP Rep, Region X Airports Division (ARP); Engineer/Southern Region (ESO)
Celebrating Women in the Field of Aviation: Interview With First Female Blue Angels Pilot
In honor of Women's History Month, NATCA is presenting the second of a four-part conversation between two incredibly inspiring women in the world of aviation. NATCA’s own Jamie Sanders, an air traffic controller at Denver/Centennial ATCT (APA), who is also an experienced pilot, interviewed Major Katie Cook, a third-generation military aviator and the first female pilot in the storied history of the great Blue Angels team of the Navy.

In this episode, Cook talks extensively about her military experience including flying in locations around the globe. She was one of the few female aviators that flew in combat. She flew missions in mountainous Afghanistan and was based at Camp Bastion, a U.K.-operated airfield at 3,100 feet. Most of the missions were close air support aboard a C-130 with a Hellfire missile rack.

"It was extremely rewarding," she said. "You join the military because you want to serve your country and you become an aviator particularly in the Marine Corps, to support the Marines on the ground. That's what our entire structure of the Marine Corps is about."
Cook was the only female pilot on the aircraft. She tells the story of one mission in particular where they came to the support of a group of Marines being fired upon. She could hear on the radio the explosions. They shot two Hellfire missiles to take out the enemy. Six months later, in a chance encounter in Europe, she met one of the Marines she helped save. "He said, 'you guys saved our life,'" Cook said. "I have a face with the name and so it's super rewarding."

Cook described what that mission was like. "We're taught to compartmentalize. At that moment, I was like, 'I can't fail. These people need the support,'" Cook said. "But in the back of your head, you're like, 'I'm about to shoot a missile at people; at a live person who's probably not going to be alive after I do this.' That's kind of a heavy burden. They were shooting at Americans, so it was completely justified but it's still a heavy burden that a lot of people don't ever have to deal with."

She also talks in this episode about applying and then being selected to join the Blue Angels on its Fat Albert aircraft, as well as her interactions with women of all ages and especially young girls that look up to her as an inspiring role model.
Click here to listen to the full episode on The NATCA Podcast, which is just over 20 minutes long. If you missed it, click here to listen to part one of the interview.

Other ways to listen to The NATCA Podcast:
NATCA Signs on to Letter Requesting Urgent Action by the Biden Administration
On Tuesday, March 23, NATCA signed onto a letter from the Federal-Postal Coalition.

The letter requests the Biden administration take urgent action to restore a quorum to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) by nominating qualified individuals and transmitting their nominations to the Senate. Nominating and Senate confirmation of members of the MSPB is important to the functioning of the federal employee appeals process. The process was dismantled by the prior administration and needs to be rebuilt as quickly as possible.

To view the letter in full, please click here.
16th Annual Archie League Medal
of Safety Award Winners' Spotlight
Central Region: Jordan Haldeman and Sarah Owens, Kansas City Center (ZKC)
At Kansas City Center (ZKC), air traffic controllers on position have a list available to them of fellow controllers at work who are also pilots. If needed, those controllers can be brought to the area to assist a pilot in distress, including things like reviewing emergency checklists. Flying an instrument approach in a small, single-engine aircraft is a very high workload environment, and controllers who are also pilots understand this best.
The pilot of a Piper PA-28, flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) in February 2020 and encountering some instrument failures, needed help. The controller on the other end of the microphone happened to be the perfect person for the situation: member Sarah Owens. Now in her 20th year at ZKC, Owens (pictured right) has been flying for the last 14 years. She flies jets, has worked for charter companies and flown around the country, and is also a flight instructor. She’s an Air Force veteran, a member of NATCA’s Air Safety Investigations Committee, and has represented NATCA at numerous pilot-controller meetings including at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh.

“She knows the checklists for those aircraft like the back of her hand,” said fellow ZKC controller Jordan Haldeman, who worked with Owens in this flight assist. “As far as a pilot being in distress, Sarah is the person you’d want on the other end. She had that all under control with the pilot in helping him run those checklists.”

Owens was working sectors 44/48 in the Trails Area. The pilot was attempting to intercept the Runway 31 localizer and land at Topeka Regional Airport (FOE) in Kansas but missed the approach and was being vectored back around for another instrument landing system (ILS) attempt. Owens noticed the pilot made a very large turn to the left, approximately 40-50 degrees. This put the aircraft in a position where he would not be able to receive the localizer signal to intercept the final approach course. Worse, he was descending. Owens issued him a low altitude alert. She instructed him to climb and maintain 3,000 feet. He was at 2,000 feet. Owens worked with the pilot, advising to keep the wings level and climb. Her initial thought was that he was spatially disoriented, or experiencing a mechanical malfunction, or a combination of both. She soon found out the details.

“Being 1,000 feet below your assigned altitude is a dangerous situation when you are that close to the ground,” Owens said. “When he was at 2,000 ft. MSL (Mean Sea Level), that is approximately 800-900 feet AGL (Above Ground Level). If you look at the ILS31 approach chart at FOE, there are numerous towers that are depicted on the chart. Some of these towers are over 500 feet tall. If he kept descending, his altitude would put him in a dangerous proximity to these towers, which he would be unable to see while in the clouds.”
“The pilot informed me that he was having a Static System Failure,” Owens said. “There are two components to the Pitot/Static System, the Pitot Tube and the Static Ports. In the most basic explanation, the Pitot Tube receives air that provides airspeed information, and the Static Ports measure air pressure, which provides altitude and vertical speed information. Depending on where the blockage was in the system, it would cause failures to different instruments (airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator, altimeter). With a Static Port blocked, he was most likely receiving erroneous information from his vertical speed indicator and his altimeter. The vertical speed indicator displays the rate that the aircraft is climbing or descending. The altimeter displays your altitude. Both of these instruments are essential when flying an instrument approach.

“I knew that the weather conditions were better to the east of Kansas City. If the pilot could get back above the clouds, he would regain his ‘vision,’ and would no longer be relying on the instruments that were failed for navigation. Once he is out of the clouds, the emergency is basically resolved.”
Haldeman (pictured right with his wife, Danielle) is a Navy veteran who began his career in 2010 at FOE, now a NATCA-represented Federal Contract Tower. He spent five years there before being hired by the Federal Aviation Administration and working for three years at Baton Rouge ATCT (BTR) prior to his move back to the Kansas City area. He quickly sat down as Owens’s D-side controller to assist with any coordination that might need to occur, allowing her to focus on what was taking place on the scope. Haldeman pulled up airports that were near the aircraft that could be used as places to divert. He also obtained weather information to try and determine which airports were VFR, or at least more favorable VFR conditions than existed at FOE.

The pilot told Owens he was picking up icing. She checked his fuel status and helped him find VFR conditions. He was then able to get the aircraft under control. “Once the aircraft is under control, a little pressure comes off,” said Haldeman. “Then it’s, ‘OK we need to find the airport that’s close enough.’” That’s when they found Lawrence Smith Memorial Airport (LRY) in Harrisonville, Mo., which is 40 miles south southeast of downtown Kansas City and approximately 80 miles east southeast of Topeka. 

“My main concern was his proximity to the ground, and obstructions,” Owens said. “I needed to get him back into conditions where he could see visually and not need the failing instruments to navigate. Once I observed that the aircraft's pitch changed from descending to climbing, I knew then that the severity of the situation was decreasing. The pilot quickly climbed on top of the clouds and was able to navigate visually.”

It was about a 10-15 minute flight for the pilot and all that was left to do for the controllers was coordination, and making sure the aircraft continued flying safely. Haldeman continued his attention to detail so that, he said, he would not miss anything. “Just like anything in our job, the more you work something, the better you get at it,” he said. “Emergencies are just part of our world and the more you work, the more comfortable you get under that condition.”

Haldeman and Owens are the 11th and 12th ZKC members, respectively, to win the Central Region Archie League Medal of Safety Award, joining Andrew Crabtree (2019), Josh Giles (2018), Andrew Cullen and Jeffrey R. Volski (2017), Liam Keeney and Brett Rolofson (2016), Andrew Smith and Joseph Moylan (2014), Todd Mariani (2012), and Chris Thigpen (2007).

“It’s a great award,” Haldeman said. “On one hand, it’s like, ‘well, I was just doing my job.’ But on the other hand, you feel appreciative that somebody recognized that you went above and beyond.”
Listen as Kansas City Center controllers use experience and coordination to guide the Piper PA-28 pilot to safety, in this episode of The NATCA Podcast. Click here to listen.

Other ways to listen to The NATCA Podcast:
We’re seeking nominations for the 2021 Archie League Medal of Safety Awards. Any member can nominate another member who was involved in the best saves that have occurred at your facilities from June 1, 2020 through April 16, 2021. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations must be submitted by April 23.
National Office Staff Employee Spotlight:
Mickela Gillfillan
We have an amazing National Office staff that our membership can be very proud of. They work hard every day and are committed to providing our members with the very best service and representation in organized labor. Today, we feature Mickela Gillfillan, our Senior Regional Coordinator for Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs). Thank you for all you do, Mickela!
Where are you from, or what places have you lived?
Gillfillan: I am from Southern California (pictured second from left).

How did you come to work at NATCA?
Gillfillan: I answered an ad (yes, back in the day when there were newspapers!). I was interviewed and hired by NATCA.

Do you have family members who are/were involved in unions?
Gillfillan: Yes!

What's the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA's staff?
Gillfillan: By far the friendships I have made along the way. NATCA is like family, and I am so grateful for each and every member/staff I have connected with over the years.

Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA?
Gillfillan: Water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, pickleball, volleyball, and paddling.

Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
Gillfillan: Hawaii Convention and too many others to mention them all. 
IT Tech Tip: Using the New NATCA Website
Today, we begin a new series highlighting key features of the new NATCA website at, which the Information Technology Committee (ITC) produced and maintains. We’re starting with the members side of the site, which you can access either directly at or using the “Members Login” button on the top center of the home page (highlighted in yellow in the image below). In upcoming issues of the Insider, we will demonstrate additional features of the NATCA website.
If you have not logged in to the website before, use your membership number as your username and the same password you use to access the NATCA Portal. If you have not used the Portal before, click here. (An image of the Portal is shown here.) If you need your membership number, click here. If you’ve been to the Portal or website before but have forgotten your password, click here

At the top right corner (highlighted in yellow in the image below) of the members home page is a menu:
  • “Academy” will take you to a full schedule of NATCA Academy courses;
  • “Benefits” will take you to our comprehensive presentation of each benefit NATCA membership affords you;
  • “Community” includes links to the annual scholarship program, the NATCA Charitable Foundation, a presentation of each NATCA award that has been given over the years, and a look at our Corporate Members;
  • “Store” will take you to our NATCA Store website, and;
  • “My Account” gets you to your personal information and includes a link to check your NATCA email.
The main part of the members home page is designed to give you the latest news and information. It is tailored specifically to you as a member. Thus, you will see news from your region in addition to the latest national headlines in “Latest News Alert” and “Newsroom.”

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a complete listing of each page on the members side of the website, linked for easy access. (This list is shown below.)
New Member Benefit:
NATCA's Relocation Services
NATCA is proud to announce a new member benefit: NATCA’s National Real Estate/Relocation Services by Beacon Relocation Services. Whether moving locally or across the country, both active and retired NATCA members and their extended families can expect top-notch real estate services when buying or selling a home. Backed by a vetted network of real estate agents, NATCA members can count on Beacon Relocation for unparalleled service, expertise, and guidance every step of the way.
Beacon Relocation was founded by two retired air traffic controllers, who lived through the relocation process themselves. Kevin Walker is a retired air traffic controller and NATCA member from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Jade Barnett served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. He is a retired air traffic controller and combat airspace manager.

Walker and Barnett know how difficult and frustrating the home buying/selling process can be. Beacon Relocation is here to help with selling your current house, finding a new affordable home, and in the transition process, arranging discounts for movers and storage, if necessary.

The benefit is at no cost to the NATCA member. It provides sellers with a reduction in listing fees, and buyers will receive 20% of the real estate agent’s commission toward their closing costs. In addition, each NATCA member that buys or sells a home using this benefit will receive a $100 gift card after closing.

It only takes a minute to activate your benefit. Click here to learn more and get started.
Kevin Walker, Beacon Relocation Co-Founder and CEO
Jade Barnett, Beacon Relocation Co-Founder and COO
NOTE: The 20% real estate agent commission credit must be on the closing disclosure and approved by the lender and all parties in the real estate transaction. The Real Estate Commissions in the following states do not allow a buyer commission credit at this time (2021): Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.
NATCA Virtual Academy Courses Available
NATCA Academy classes for virtual learning are scheduled 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.
Attend the Next NATCA 101 Course
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.
Union Members Feature:
Transport Workers of America
NATCA continues to highlight our union sisters and brothers who are also essential workers during the COVID-19 national emergency. Today we highlight the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (TWU). TWU represents more than 150,000 members across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities, and services sectors. "Plain and simple - COVID recovery is not possible without public transit," TWU posted recently on its social media channels. TWU members are mechanics, car cleaners, baggage handlers, disease control inspectors, bus operators, ramp agents, flight attendants, and more. City by city, industry by industry, TWU members are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight nationwide. Click here to read more.
NCF Supports the Lone Survivor Foundation
The NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) is proud to support the Lone Survivor Foundation (LSF) and recently donated $5,000 to support its causes. LSF is a charity that was chosen to be highlighted at the 18th Biennial Convention in Houston (Aug. 10-12) for the amazing work it does with wounded veterans, service members, and military families.

NCF is continuing its support of LSF through the sale of T-shirts and hoodies. Proceeds will go to both NCF and LSF.
LSF is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Marcus Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL and the author of New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor.

LSF provides veterans and their families with a path to healing from their invisible wounds. They have been able to provide approximately 25,200 hours of no-cost therapeutic service to 1,200 veterans and their family members.

NCF Makes a Donation to Foar From Home
Last week NCF Treasurer Betsy Beaumont, Fort Worth Center (ZFW), presented a check for $2,500 on behalf of NCF to Foar From Home, a rowing team of four U.S. military veterans trying to make a difference and raise awareness for veteran suicide. Each from a different branch of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines), these brave veterans are rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands to Antigua with a goal of raising $500,000 for “Now Veteran Need.”

There is an average of 22 veteran suicides daily in the United States. Both men and women leaving U.S. military service face challenges while transitioning into normal civilian life.

After delivering the check, Beaumont said, “I knew when I met this team, they were special. The passion and drive that they have to help bring an end to veteran suicide is extraordinary! Having NCF help in that fight is an honor and privilege.”

If you’d like to follow them along their journey, you can find them on Instagram (@foar_from_home). NCF is a Bronze Shark Sponsor of Foar From Home, so keep an eye out, as NCF's name will be somewhere on their boat! You can also follow (@chewy_theservicedog) who is pictured above. He is being trained to become a service dog for a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.
April 12 is Deadline for Submissions of Proposed Constitutional Amendments
As a result of the rescheduling of the Convention, the time period to submit proposed amendments to the NATCA Constitution and/or resolutions for consideration at the Convention has been extended. In accord with Article XIV, Section 1 of the NATCA Constitution, this new date for the submission of proposed amendments is 120 days prior to the beginning of the Convention (Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021). All proposed amendments and resolutions are due to NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert ( by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 12, 2021.

All proposed amendments already submitted will remain in consideration at Convention provided the author is still a member in good standing. There is no need to re-submit any previously submitted timely amendments. The Constitution Committee will create a new booklet that will be mailed out to all members following the April 12, 2021 deadline.

Members with questions about this process should contact their Constitution Committee representative or NATCA General Counsel Marguerite L. Graf (
Operation Traffic Counts Across the U.S.