Guidance from Eugene Freedman, NATCA Special Counsel to the President, Regarding Sick-Outs

NATCA does not condone any bargaining unit employees soliciting, endorsing, or engaging in sick-outs or other activities that undermine the professional image and reputation of the men and women we represent. We urge you to support your brothers and sisters by maintaining your professionalism in the face of this shutdown. One of the strongest positions we have in the media and with members of Congress and the Administration is that our members are committed to the safety of the flying public and the National Airspace System even though this shutdown has had significant negative personal consequences for our members.
Furthermore, an organized sick-out would fall into the category of strike, work stoppage, or slowdown under federal law. A sick-out would result in employees both losing their jobs and risking criminal prosecution.
Title 5, United States Code, § 7311(3) provides that "an individual may not... hold a position in the Government of the United States...if he- participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike, against the Government of the United States."
Furthermore, Title 18, United States Code § 1918 restates the same statutory language and provides for a criminal penalty stating that "whoever violates the provision of section 7311 of title 5... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year and a day, or both."
If a co-worker approaches you, including on social media, to engage in a sick-out, say "no" and advise them that they are risking both their job and their liberty.
In Solidarity, 

The National Executive Board
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