Letter to WSJ Editor: NATCA Activism Has Improved Hiring & Training

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a letter to the editor from NATCA President Paul Rinaldi in its print edition and online on June 21. Paul's letter was a critique of an opinion article that the WSJ had published on June 5 that criticized FAA hiring practices and suggested that controllers hired using these practices endangered flying safety in the National Airspace System. The print and digital readership of the WSJ approach 2.4 million readers, making it the largest circulation newspaper in the United States. As a result, both Paul's letter and t he original WSJ article that Paul addressed were widely read. The alleged safety issue in the WSJ article was also discussed during some Fox News segments. This combined coverage was wide enough to get the attention of some members of Congress and congressional staff. NATCA's government affairs staff got questions about these allegations.

The WSJ NATCA letter to the editor was an opportunity to educate WSJ readers - including these members of Congress and congressional staff - regarding the FAA's hiring practices, procedures for training air traffic controllers, and NATCA's involvement in these processes. NATCA's letter to the editor gave NATCA an opportunity to set the record straight. "Controllers are among the most vetted, skilled and trained professionals in the nation. We do an amazing job safely managing the world's busiest, most-complex airspace," wrote Rinaldi. "Staffing has reached a 29-year low of fully certified controllers, making it a critical issue for NATCA with the administration and Congress. Claims that controllers are putting public safety at risk unfairly malign the reputations of these great professionals."

NATCA's letter also was an opportunity to highlight NATCA's tremendous legislative activism that has produced very positive results for our membership and the National Airspace System. Wrote Rinaldi, "NATCA  worked with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that exempts applicants from taking the (biographical) assessment if they have prior controller experience, graduated from a Collegiate Training Initiative school or are military veterans."

Upcoming State Primary Election Registration Deadlines
Your greatest opportunity to influence our political system is to vote. Do you know when your state's primary elections will be held? Are you registered to vote? If not, do you know the deadline for registering in your state? A list of upcoming primary election dates and voter registration deadlines is below. 

If your state isn't listed below, you can learn about other state elections and registration policies  here.

NATCA also made this Google calendar, so you can track these dates nationwide.

State Primary Date Registration Deadline How to Register
Tennessee Aug. 2 July 3
Kansas Aug. 7 July 17
Michigan Aug. 7 July 9
Missouri Aug. 7 July 11
Washington Aug. 7 July 9 (online)
July 30 (in person)
Hawaii Aug. 11 July 12
Connecticut Aug. 14 Aug. 9
Minnesota Aug. 14 July 24 (online)
Aug. 14 (in person)
Vermont Aug. 14 Aug. 14
Wisconsin Aug. 14 July 25 (postmarked by)
Aug. 10 (in person)
Alaska Aug. 21 July 22
Wyoming Aug. 21 Aug. 6 (mail received by)
Aug. 21 (same day at poll)
Arizona Aug. 28 July 30
Florida Aug. 28 July 30
Massachusetts Sept. 4 Aug. 15 (postmarked by)
Delaware Sept. 6 Aug. 11
New Hampshire Sept. 11 Pre-registration deadline dates vary by locality
Sept. 11 (same day at poll)
Rhode Island Sept. 12 Aug. 12
President's Executive Orders That Could Negatively Affect Federal Employees and Their Unions Draw Bipartisan Opposition
NATCA is keeping a close eye on developments related to the three Executive Orders (EOs) the President signed last month that could negatively affect federal employees and their unions.  Many members of Congress have responded with opposition:

On June 11, a group of 21 House Republicans sent a letter to the President asking him to reverse course on the EOs. "Federal workers have taken an oath of service to our great nation, and we take very seriously their duty to provide the American public with quality services," the lawmakers wrote. "That is why we believe that now, more than ever, it is important to uphold and strengthen the working relationships between federal workers and agency leadership."

On June 19, group of 45 Democratic senators demanded the President rescind the EOs. In a letter to the President, the senators, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., argued the EOs "undermine the decades-old rights of federal employees to fair representation in the workplace."
HATCH Act Tip of the Month: Running for Partisan Political Office
Generally, federal employees may not be candidates in partisan elections.
History Lesson: NATCA's First Legislative Victory
Last week, NATCA celebrated the 31st anniversary of its FLRA certification as the exclusive bargaining representative of FAA air traffic controllers. Did you know that after certification, the Union set to work on its first legislative victory; protecting federal employee controllers from civil lawsuits. Read more

NATCAvists Build Relationships
NATCA members across the country meet with their members of Congress year-round. They educate them on NATCA and our professions and build strong relationships at home and on Capitol Hill.

North Carolina Members Meet With Congresswoman Fox
NATCA members Travis Payne of Greensboro ATCT (center) and Anthony Schifano of Charlotte ATCT met with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. (5th Dist.) on June 18. 

Santa Barbara Members Meet With California Congressmen 
Earlier this month, Western Pacific Region Legislative Rep Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik represented NATCA at an event with Congressman Adam Schiff (left), D-Calif. (28th District), Congressman Salud Carbajal (right), D-Calif. (24th District), and fellow Santa Barbara ATCT NATCA member Joel Poole.
GFK NATCA Leads Facility Tour for Sen. Hoeven
Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D.,  visited Grand Forks ATCT (GFK), a 100 percent NATCA facility, last month. NATCA North Dakota State Legislative Coordinator Jonathan Blumhorst led the senator and his staff on a detailed tour of the tower, including taking the 10 flights of stairs to start the tour - an experience specifically requested by the Senator. Joining Hoeven and Blumhorst on the tour were GFK FacRep  Cody Hammer  and staff support specialist  Greg Krone .

The visit was part of a joint effort between GFK NATCA, the University of North Dakota's (UND) flight training program, and the Grand Forks International Airport Authority. The focus of the visit included complexities of the intersecting runway operations, the high volume of traffic that UND brings to this airport, the aging tower at GFK, and future plans for improvement.

NATCA Milwaukee Members Meet With Two U.S. Senators
Milwaukee ATCT members Mike Moynihan (second from left), Megan Cnota (center), and Rory Lieb met with Senators Kamala Harris, D-Calif. (left), and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. (right), earlier this month at the RedLine Milwaukee art museum. Sen. Baldwin addressed the concerns that the Milwaukee members brought to her office during NATCA in Washington last month and gave her support.
Building Relationships at the Grassroots Level:
Holly Denny, Jacksonville ATCT
"During my first year at NATCA in Washington, I heard several times how important it is to build relationships with our members of Congress and their staff. I wasn't quite sure how to gain such access to become a successful activist. In my meeting with Congressman Ted Yoho, R-Fla. (3rd District), I took note of all the details of his office. He loves the Florida Gators, prefers Aquafina water, and is a huge fan of the military. 

"When he arrived at Jacksonville International Airport recently for Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to meet him in the terminal. I brought him a military challenge coin from my National Guard unit that happens to have a Gator controlling air traffic on the back of it. He challenged me with a Congressional challenge coin. Additionally I brought a couple of snacks for him and his staff for their long evening of meetings and a road trip to Gainesville (two hours away). Later, his staff told me I received major brownie points for having all of his favorites when he got off the plane. 

"I am so happy for these experiences and opportunities to serve my members and NATCA. I encourage everyone to take note of the things in their offices to learn more about each member of Congress. It just may get you on your way to building excellent relationships in the future."

NATCA Hosts Congresswoman Linda Sanchez for LGB Tour, Meeting
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. (38th District, pictured top right) "has always shown unwavering support for NATCA. It was great to finally get her into one of our represented facilities," said NATCA Western Pacific Regional Legislative Team member James Decker (Los Angeles Center). With Long Beach ATCT (LGB) being just outside of her district and in need of some focus on its facility maintenance issues, it was the perfect option. LGB member Amanda Cook (pictured top left) did "an outstanding job facilitating the tour," Decker said, and speaking to the types of operations LGB works, along with its staffing and the need for help for the aging facility. Rep. Sanchez spent time learning about the facility and watching the operations first-hand from the tower cab.
Looking Back: NATCA in Washington
During the 25th anniversary of our Union's annual lobbying event last month, NATCA members met with nearly every member of Congress and communicated our vigorous opposition to any legislation that would attack federal employee wages and benefits. Once again, the importance of building relationships was on full display. 

"It's all because of your legislative activism, the work you do back at your facilities, to show what we do for a living. It's relationship-building," Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said.

NiW Today, legislative briefing book 

For NATCA in Washington First-Time Attendees, Many Different Experiences but One Very Positive Impression of Legislative Event
NATCA in Washington (NiW) was Albuquerque Center (ZAB) member Hershul Olloway's first time at NATCA's annual lobbying event -- and also his first time meeting with members of Congress or their staff.  "My first overall impression was 'WOW!' You could feel the passion from each NATCA member there," Olloway said.  Fort Worth Center (ZFW) members Justin Arment and Dan Hughes were not just making their first trips to NATCA in Washington like 132 other members - they were making their first trips to Washington, D.C.  Arment, in the Agency for only three years, said he had recently looked for ways to contribute more. NiW fit the bill perfectly.  "I've wanted to get more involved in NATCA and this was a great chance to do that," he said.  Read more
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