NATCA President Patrick Forrey released the following statement today following President Obama's announcement of Randy Babbitt as his FAA administrator designee.
On behalf of the 20,000 aviation safety professionals NATCA represents, I congratulate Mr. Babbitt on his nomination. We now look to the Senate Commerce Committee in hopes of a swift confirmation so that Mr. Babbitt can get right to work in tackling the array of big challenges that will await him when he reaches his office; the accumulation of several years of failed FAA management, a run it like a business agenda that has no place in a safety agency, and, of course, the absence of fairness and respect from its relationship with its employees, particularly the controller workforce. The most critically urgent task facing Mr. Babbitt in terms of safety and labor relations is returning to the bargaining table with NATCA to end nearly 1,000 days of imposed terms and conditions of employment and reach a collective bargaining agreement. I am confident that this will not only be the first thing on Mr. Babbitts to-do list but that it will be done with respect to both President Obama and Transportation Secretary LaHoods call for change in how the FAA treats its employees and how it must seek collaboration instead of confrontation. "While NATCA has concerns about the actions of the FAA Management Advisory Council under Mr. Babbitt's leadership that contributed to our current labor problems, our focus right now is putting an end to those problems and looking forward. We have placed our trust and confidence in President Obama, who has supported NATCAs safety-first interests for more than three years. Therefore, we support the presidents selection and pledge our cooperation. Mr. Babbitt has the opportunity to do great things with our National Airspace System and restore the credibility of an agency in need of a priority readjustment and severe morale boosting. If he restores fairness to FAA labor relations and opens his door to a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect, Mr. Babbitt will have the worlds most skilled and dedicated workforce of aviation safety professionals and subject matter experts ready to work with him to put safety first and modernize our system to meet the demands of the FAAs true customers: the flying public.