Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It’s almost incomprehensible how our lives – and the world – have changed since Labor Day 2019.

We gathered at parades and picnics, without masks or worrying about distancing ourselves. We sat shoulder to shoulder at baseball games, cheering on our favorite teams. We prepared to host more than 1,000 members at our Communicating For Safety conference in Las Vegas at a time when the National Airspace System was busy and planes were packed. 

Coinciding with Labor Day 2019, we also kicked off a major new successful organizing campaign called The NATCA Collective. We told you that we have so much more power through the collective strength of our Union. We didn’t know then that our collective strength – and that of our fellow unions in the aviation and transportation sector – would be tested like never before.

We’ve faced many challenges before, but nothing quite like 2020. Our nation is in upheaval on three fronts: the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis that has also devastated aviation around the world, and the fight for racial justice.

This Labor Day, NATCA joins all of organized labor in pausing to remember the union brothers and sisters who have passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes one of our own NATCA members at our represented Federal Contract Tower in Key West, Fla., Michael King. Several of our members have also lost family members and friends to this awful virus.

It is essential workers, represented by organized labor, who are tending to our nation’s needs during this difficult time. It will be union members who bring our economy back once we are out of this crisis.
We stand in solidarity with our fellow U.S. aviation unions in urging Congress to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program to prevent significant layoffs in our industry. Each day brings more bad news from aviation labor, both here in this country and around the world. Many airlines have announced layoffs, and we fear the month of September will bring more difficult times to many of our aviation brothers and sisters. The global aviation industry has experienced more than 350,000 job losses in the past six months and that number could reach a half-million by the end of this year.

It breaks our heart and it is hard to truly comprehend how quickly our aviation system has changed. 

But in times like these, you need a stable, steady hand to guide your career and your profession. You need a family of like-minded professionals to support you and offer a helping hand if you need it. You need a Union. Today, on Labor Day, it is more important than ever to remind you that your Union is that stable, steady hand. Our solidarity is our strength, and we need you now more than ever. Labor Day affords us the opportunity to recognize the invaluable contributions that working men and women make to our nation, our economy, and our collective prosperity.

NATCA is proud to represent 20,000 essential aviation safety professionals who have operated the safest, most efficient airspace in the world during this pandemic. It hasn’t been easy. We know that. Our mission has been to protect your health, first and foremost.

We are also extremely grateful to the front-line health care professionals who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much. So many of you have contributed your money and your time in expressing your gratitude. Last year, other unions supported our members when we worked without pay through the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history. Now, our members have paid it forward by providing meals to hospital workers and first responders in over 50 cities.
Labor unions also support their members in their times of need. For example, our Disaster Response Committee has been on scene in Louisiana and eastern Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. NATCA member volunteers have come in to help their fellow members in Lake Charles and surrounding areas, offering clean-up help, repairs, supplies, and, most importantly, comfort. More on that later in this update.

Brothers and Sisters, we will get through all of this – together. We wish you a happy and a safe Labor Day.

In solidarity,

Paul and Trish
NEB Labor Day 2020 Video
Solidarity Forever!
For the Union Makes Us Strong
On Labor Day each year, we honor the men and women who work hard to provide the services we depend on every day. It's also a day to honor the labor heroes that helped build this country and the unions that protect working men and women. Please enjoy this video honoring unions and the valuable role they play - especially our own Union - in improving the lives of each member and our country. The video features messages from Paul and Trish and each of the other 10 members of the National Executive Board.
NATCA's Disaster Response Committee: There When You Need Them
NATCA established a disaster relief fund in 1992 in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in Florida. The fund aids NATCA members who have experienced catastrophic losses of property and helps provide a lifeline during those most desperate times. NATCA works directly with affected members to help them purchase food, gasoline, or any other supplies that might be required, and volunteers work alongside the Disaster Response Committee (DRC) to deliver supplies as soon as the need is known. Recently, the DRC was called upon to respond to disasters in Iowa and along the western Louisiana and eastern Texas Gulf Coast.

“When a disaster strikes, we rely on pre-arranged volunteers throughout various facilities and regions,” said DRC Chair and Miami Center (ZMA) FacRep Tom Flanary. “Some of these volunteers have stepped up in the past, and others have just told us that they wanted to help. They may sit dormant for months until an event actually happens, but in preparation, we keep them in constant communication with us. As the event hits, or after the event, we reach out to these people who then build on their volunteer lists at a facility.”

Some people may elect to cook, transport items and supplies, go shopping for important items, or even go to the disaster area to help rebuild and clean up people's property. “Using all of these individual pieces and working collectively as a team, is what makes our committee so strong,” Flanary said. “Fortunately for us, we have thousands of NATCA members who stand up strong and respond to these emergencies head on, so it only takes a little coordination, and they're ready to go. It's really amazing and awe inspiring how eager people are to help out their brothers and sisters.”

Due to the generosity of the NATCA membership, the disaster relief fund has continued to grow, allowing NATCA members to help those affected after hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and man-made incidents.
On Aug. 10, a derecho, comparable to a Category 2 hurricane, hit the Midwest and lasted about 14 hours. Millions of people across Iowa lost power for days, including members from Cedar Rapids ATCT (CID). “This was pretty devastating,” said CID FacRep Brian Taylor. “There were members with holes in their roofs and flooding in their basements. This was not something we were expecting.”

Something else unexpected was a call to Taylor from the DRC. “They reached out to us to see if we needed any help because they heard what happened,” he said. They got us generators and supplies we needed to get through this.”

“The DRC has been an asset to NATCA members since its inception,” said Central Regional Vice President (RVP) Aaron Merrick. “The work the DRC does is so special and beneficial to our membership in their time of need. Whether it's hurricane relief or assisting with displaced families dealing with wildfires, the DRC is always ready to jump into action. That was certainly the case with the recent derecho that impacted members of the Central Region in Iowa, including Cedar Rapids. We are thankful we have such a well-run committee within NATCA, ready to help at a moment's notice.”
Two weeks ago, members in the Southwest Region were affected by Hurricane Laura. The DRC stood ready with generators, gas cans, chainsaws, dehumidifiers, fans, and tools staged in the Houston and Jacksonville, Fla., areas. The DRC was prepared to buy more supplies to support the members. Numerous volunteers stood ready in Houston, Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., ready to help. The DRC coordinated with local disaster groups who planned to fly in supplies and were prepared with satellite phones to be overnighted to Houston if necessary for vital communications. Additionally, New Orleans-Moisant ATCT (MSY) member Christina Messina last week organized a response of supplies which was flown to Lake Charles with the Aerial Relief Network, formerly known as the Cajun Airlift that was started during Hurricane Harvey three years ago.

“NATCA’s Disaster Response Committee has been truly invaluable in assisting our members and their families as they work to recover from this devastating storm,” said Southwest RVP Andrew LeBovidge. “The DRC established lines of communications early and kept everyone connected and informed in real time. By coordinating with all the surrounding facilities and leadership at the regional level, the DRC was able to get necessary supplies to those in need and to organize a volunteer army to provide assistance with clearing debris, tarping damaged roofs, ripping out sheetrock, feeding controllers and their families, etc. All of us in the Southwest Region are incredibly grateful for the DRC’s assistance, as well as for the outpouring of support from our NATCA family throughout the country.” 

“We rely on local volunteers when they are available, and then work in concentric rings to get more volunteers if necessary,” added Flanary. “When the disaster is over, we stand down the teams, keep our volunteers in a database, move on to the next situation, and do it all over again.”

Denver Center (ZDV) member and Northwest Mountain Region DRC member Caty Gallucci got involved with the DRC as a way to be more active in NATCA. “With my background as a New York State EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and my work with the American Red Cross, I thought the DRC would be a great fit,” she said. “I think the DRC is a unique and excellent resource our Union has for its members and I am proud to be a part of it."

“I just want the membership to know that the DRC really is following through on what they are supposed to do,” concluded Taylor.
There are several ways members can give to the DRC:
  • PayPal your donation to [email protected].
  • Sign up for automatic payroll deduction here.
  • Mail personal checks, payable to “Disaster Relief Fund”:
Attn: Accounting Department
1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C., 20005
  • Donate through GoFundMe here.
The DRC stands ready to assist fellow NATCA members. Your donation is always greatly appreciated.

Working to Support Your Mental Health
The NATCA Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team is a group of air traffic controllers specially trained to help their fellow members. “The main purpose of this team is to help our brothers and sisters mitigate the debilitating psychological effects that an incident/accident can impose through peer-to-peer support,” says Kansas City Center (ZKC) member and CISM Chair Sarah Grampp. “We are not regional representatives, but controllers across the nation representing the CISM team nationally.” CISM does not have an FAA counterpart and does not report to anyone on their specific work. The CISM Team is trained in the Mitchell model for debriefing and armed with tools to provide to their peers in specific individual situations. 
The NATCA Charitable Foundation (NCF) is featuring its first campaign since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 25 for 25 Pushup Challenge was created by NCF to raise awareness about mental health issues. Proceeds from this challenge will go to NCF to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For more information on this campaign, 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.
CISM is working with NCF to promote this campaign for many reasons. “Things can definitely be hard, scary, and overwhelming at times in the aviation profession,” said Grampp. “We understand the stresses relating to our jobs, as well as the day-to-day life stressors at home. We understand that you may feel alone or that there’s nowhere to turn. We understand the hurdles you face with your medical clearances, but there are so many people that want to be there for you. So many people that may feel the same way as you. NATCA is here for you. The CISM team is here for you.”
During times of high stress, we tend to forget simple things that can make such a positive impact on our day-to-day lives. Having as clear of a mind and body as possible will help you process this stress much easier. Your co-workers are with you, so lean on and help each other through difficult times. Don’t ignore your mental health and don't leave it unaddressed. You don’t have to sort it all out by yourself; there are avenues for help.
The CISM team is an unbiased, confidential outlet to discuss whatever our members are going through without fear of losing their medical clearances. They are not counselors, suicide prevention dispatch, or investigators, but strictly a peer-to-peer support system. If you would like to reach out to the CISM team, you can email them at [email protected] or call them at 202-505-2476.
Unum: One of the Greatest Benefits Our Union Has to Offer
As a NATCA member, you have access to one of the greatest benefits our Union has to offer: long-term disability insurance from Unum. You cannot get insurance like this anywhere else; this was specifically negotiated for the benefit of NATCA members. Unum long-term disability insurance isn't just for catastrophic events. For example, when the flight surgeon pulls your medical for an array of reasons eliminating your ability to earn a paycheck, NATCA's long-term disability plan can protect your financial future should you become unable to work by providing income when you need it most. 

Many of our members who never expected to use their Unum insurance were relieved that they did sign up for it the moment they realized they needed it. It allowed their families to survive even when they were without a medical for months at a time. Even in the worst-case scenarios - permanent loss of medical clearance - this insurance can kick in to help members and their families.

If you haven’t considered signing up, now is the time. Don’t wait until something bad happens to wish that you had made the decision to protect yourself. For more information and to enroll in the plan, please click here.
Take Your Place in the Union Synergy Town Hall
We invite you to join the Union Synergy (US) Committee in NATCA's first virtual Town Hall, moderated by Trish, on Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. EDT. It’s for members only, and we will bring you difficult conversations and discuss 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. Please fill out this form to receive the Zoom link and more information.

We have a lineup of great member panelists including Stephen Swiech and Kymberlee Towns. 

Stephen was born and raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and is a current controller at San Juan CERAP (ZSU). Stephen has been in a lifelong love affair with all things aviation. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees while playing basketball for the University of Akron and California University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Stephen attended the College Training Initiative (CTI) program at the Community College of Beaver County, first as a student and later as an instructor. He completed OKC Academy training in 2015. Stephen loves being involved with NATCA as the ZSU secretary.

Kym was born and raised in Oakland, Calif. Although she wasn’t introduced to aviation until after graduating from college, she was always fascinated by airplanes. Kym spent a lot of time flying from the West Coast to the East Coast during college, which sparked her interest and incited her curiosity. After reading a magazine she discovered air traffic control. After completing the CTI program at Mt. San Antonio College, she joined the FAA in 2007. Kym began her career at Waco ATCT (ACT), then worked at Houston Hobby ATCT (HOU). She currently works at Houston TRACON (I90). During her time in the FAA, Kym has been a very active NATCA member serving in various roles including ACT Vice President, HOU Vice President, HOU Facility Rep, ERAM SME, and Houston Metroplex OAPM SME. She currently serves as a TRB Representative on the Southwest Region training team. Kym has a passion for education and imparting her knowledge and experience of our dynamic field to underrepresented groups.

We look forward to seeing you on Sept. 17 and engaging with you to make our Union better. If you haven't already, join the Union Synergy Facebook group.
Take Note of Upcoming Payroll Tax Deferral
Last week, the President issued a Memorandum deferring payroll tax obligations for the remainder of the calendar year. This deferral applies to employees earning less than $4,000 per pay period, calculated on a pre-tax basis. We are in the process of working with the FAA to determine how the Department of Interior Business Center, which handles payroll for FAA, will implement this Memorandum. We will update you once we have additional information.

Please be aware that this deferral of payroll taxes could potentially result in income tax liability in 2020 and reduced take home pay in 2021. You may consider discussing your situation with your tax/financial advisor.
COVID-19 Resources
NATCA-FAA MOU Requires Face Coverings in Common Areas

The Agency has determined, and NATCA has agreed, that face coverings will be required in common areas such as elevators, hallways, and any workspaces or other locations where social distancing cannot be maintained. This decision is consistent with CDC guidance intended to slow the spread of the virus and serves to further protect the workforce.

The Parties at the local level shall work collaboratively to comply with the policy in accordance with the MOU as expeditiously as possible. It is expected the facilities are now in full compliance. 

Agency Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q : Are FAA employees and contractors required to wear face coverings?

A : FAA employees will wear cloth face coverings, surgical masks, dust masks, or N95 respirators (if medically qualified) in common areas such as elevators, hallways, and any workspaces or other locations where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

According to the CDC, wearing face coverings in public settings helps slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. In addition, several state and local authorities have mandates that require persons wear face coverings in public places. Visit the CDC website for more information on cloth face coverings and on respirators and face masks. This guidance does not supersede any FAA position-specific guidance on PPE.  

Q : Can an employee use a face covering with an unfiltered exhalation valve? 

A : Face coverings with an unfiltered exhalation valves are not suitable for COVID-19 community spread protection. The unfiltered exhalation valve allows unfiltered air to escape the face covering. Unfiltered exhalation valves on any type of face coverings are not permitted. 
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.