Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday, we told you that the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that will fund the government, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), through Sept. 30, 2019. Today, the President signed it into law, which means that we will not have to worry about another government shutdown for at least the next seven months.
We want to thank each of you for maintaining your professionalism during the 35-day shutdown. Your efforts did not go unnoticed. Many members of Congress have cited your dedication and skill during the shutdown and since it ended. You have elevated our professions in the eyes of our elected leaders and the American public, and you should be very proud.
We also want to thank all of our members who participated in our ongoing legislative calls-to-action, mini-lobby weeks in Washington, D.C., and our leafleting effort at 68 airports around the country. The end of the shutdown and this new appropriations deal was, in no small part, due to our collective activism.
We will continue to call on you to help pass the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1108), which would authorize the FAA to continue to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) during a future government shutdown. H.R. 1108 would prevent the FAA from shutting down, even if the rest of the federal government is not funded.
Today's new appropriations law also includes a 1.9 percent pay increase for federal employees who are covered by statutory pay systems including the General Schedule (GS), retroactive to the first full pay period in January. This provision overrides the President's Executive Order issued subject to his authority under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) that provided for no pay increase for federal employees for 2019. The legislation provides a 1.4 percent general increase and, on average, a 0.5 percent increase to locality pay, to be allocated by the President. The locality rate changes will include six new locality areas differentiated from Rest-of-US: Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL; Burlington-South Burlington, VT; Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice, TX; Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, NE-IA; San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, TX; and Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC.
New locality rates will be applied after the 1.4 percent general increase is applied to Basic Pay. Here is how the pay increase will be applied to NATCA's different bargaining unit employees under their respective collective bargaining agreements (CBA):
- Bargaining unit employees covered by the Slate Book CBA will receive a 1.4 percent annual increase to their Basic Pay (not including locality) equivalent to the GS increase, effective the first full pay period in January (Jan. 6-19).
- Slate Book employees who are subject to pay retention (due to a facility pay level decrease) whose pay is above the new pay band maximum, will receive 50 percent of the increase to Basic Pay and the remaining 50 percent as a lump sum.
- Bargaining unit employees covered by the Purple Book Consolidated CBA will receive a 1.4 percent increase to their Basic Pay (not including locality) equivalent to the GS increase, effective the first full pay period in January, up to the band maximum. If the annual adjustment will cause the employee's Basic Pay to exceed the band maximum or the employee's Basic Pay is already equal to or exceeds the band maximum, the employee will receive a pay increase up to the band maximum and the remainder as a lump sum payment.
- Bargaining unit employees covered by the Light Blue Book Multi-Unit CBA will receive a 1.4 percent increase to their Basic Pay (not including locality) equivalent to the GS increase, effective the first full pay period in January, up to the band maximum. If the annual adjustment will cause the employee's Basic Pay to exceed the band maximum or the employee's Basic Pay is already equal to or exceeds the band maximum, the employee will receive a pay increase up to the band maximum and the remainder as a lump sum payment.
We will follow up with more details on the pay increases once we know when the FAA will implement the changes and provide employees with back pay to the first pay period in January.
In Pay Period 4, which will be paid on or about Feb. 26, FAA and DOI will withhold "catch-up" NATCA dues for members who did not have dues withheld during Pay Period 1. In Pay Period 5, which will be paid on or about March 12, FAA and DOI will withhold "catch-up" NATCA dues for members who did not have dues withheld during Pay Period 2.
NATCA has developed a pay calculator that our members can use to recreate their Earnings and Leave Statement (LES). This tool can be used to validate earnings and deductions from any pay period in 2018 or 2019, and was created specifically to assist members with recreating missing LES due to the recent government shutdown. The calculator requires Microsoft Excel to perform the calculations and PowerPoint to view the slide deck with instructions and notes on using the tool. Click
to view the PowerPoint presentation and to download the Pay Calculator.
Please report any bugs and/or send questions to:
We have coordinated with the Agency to permit employees to utilize up to thirty minutes of duty time upon request, subject to staffing and workload, to meet with their union representative to review the pay calculator and their individual pay for any discrepancies. As of now, this agreement applies within the ATO. We are still working with the other lines of business for members outside the ATO.
We also wanted to thank all of the members who have submitted forms in NATCA's Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit for failure to pay employees at least the minimum wage during the shutdown and for failure to pay timely overtime. For many of you, we know that the FAA still has not made you whole with regard to overtime as well as other premiums and differentials that are not subject to the lawsuit. We are working with the FAA to have you made whole as quickly as possible.
Even though the longest shutdown in U.S. history ended on Jan. 25, and the FAA has communicated that it plans to make all employees whole by the end of Pay Period 5, our lawsuit is still ripe for adjudication over NATCA's request for liquidated damages. If awarded by the court, they serve to double the award on the FLSA claims. The FLSA claims are for minimum wage ($7.25/hr) and unpaid overtime. They are not for everyone's full wages.
Today, NATCA's outside counsel filed on behalf of approximately 3,250 plaintiffs. There are thousands of additional forms that they are still processing. Those additional claimants will be added to the case as named plaintiffs in the next few weeks.
All excepted NATCA members who are covered by the FLSA should have received an informational letter about the FLSA claims in the lawsuit as well as a double-sided opt-in form which needs to be completed in full and returned to the outside law firm handling the case (Woodley and McGillivary, Attn: Keith Nickerson, 1101 Vermont Avenue N.W., Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005).
Copies of the letter and form can also be found on the NATCA
. Members can print copies of the form and mail it in even if they have not received the letter. There is no deadline to opt-in to the case, as of now. The court will set the deadline as the litigation moves forward. However, we would like members to send in their forms as soon as possible.
Although Staff Support Specialists occupy a position that is not covered by the FLSA, NATCA is aware that some Staff Support Specialists were required to perform a higher than normal amount of active air traffic control duties during the shutdown due to staffing deficiencies. NATCA's outside counsel has advised that there are certain exceptions and occasions when work performed in such situations would be covered by the FLSA. As a result, any Staff Support Specialist who spent a larger percentage of time than normal performing active air traffic control during the shutdown may be eligible for recovery on the FLSA claims and may submit their forms to join the lawsuit (with any ultimate recovery subject to the findings of the court).
NATCA is aware that several other law firms and plaintiffs' groups have initiated FLSA lawsuits over the shutdown. NATCA members should join the NATCA lawsuit, and they may only participate in a single lawsuit. NATCA is covering the out-of-pocket costs for the lawsuit, and the attorneys handling the case will receive a contingent fee determined by the recovery.
Paul Rinaldi, NATCA President
Trish Gilbert, NATCA Executive Vice President