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Saturday, April 15, 2006
FEAR OF FLYING? ANOTHER BUSH CRONY PREPARES THE GROUND FOR DISASTER-- THIS TIME AT THE FAA
Airplanes and Bush just never were a good mix. First he was a disaster as a disgruntled, mostly AWOL semi-member of the Texas Air National Guard. Even worse-- for America-- Bush's pig-headedness about paying attention to President Clinton and his outgoing administration's dire warnings regarding the dangers posed by Al Qaeda were contributory to the catastrophe of 9-11. And now Bush is setting up an airline catastrophe that could be even worse! Even Bush's rubber-stamp congress can nip this one in the bud.
Right in line with the Bush Regime's seething hatred for working men and women exercising their rights to collective bargaining, as of last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has broken off contract talks with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) that would have saved taxpayers, $1.4 BILLION over the next five years.
Air traffic controllers (ATCs), for those who don’t follow aviation, are the folks who guide planes the second they leave the gate to your destination. Their job is one of the most stressful in the world yet they remain dedicated and hardworking public servants. They’ve been negotiating with the FAA since September 2005. According to FAA Administrator and Bush-appointed crony Marion Blakey, the FAA wants a “fair” contract that would save taxpayers money. What part of $1.4 billion in savings Ms Blakey and Bush don't get no one quite understands.
If that’s not bad enough, here’s something else I didn’t realize. So the FAA broke off contract talks and submitted a contract to Congress. If Congress doesn’t act within 60 calendar days-- and we know how lazy and unwilling to put in an honest week's work these people have been for the last 5 years-- the FAA gets to impose their contract on NATCA-- take it or leave it.
So in other words, these dedicated controllers are forced to take whatever the FAA gives them (and, from what I'm hearing from my sources, it's a steaming pile of crap). To make matters worse, the FAA’s version actually penalizes veteran controllers for staying-– creating a situation where it makes more financial sense for eligible controllers to retire than to stay in their vital jobs. By end of 2007, 1 in 4 controllers-– over 4,000-- could retire – and the problem would increase for the next five years by which time over 40% of current controllers will actually be penalized for staying in their jobs.
BTW, it takes 3-5 years to train an air traffic controller. Unlike most jobs where you can fill the spot immediately with someone new, ATCs take months (and sometimes a year) to learn new positions. The aviation system is already experiencing a staffing crisis which you can read more about here. Although it may not have dawned on this particular incompetent Bush crony with a fancy job, penalizing veteran controllers if they come to work certainly won’t help the situation.
I hope this is all getting you as pissed off as I am. That's because, like I said, this could be nipped in the bud. If you go to this site it'll help you contact your congresscritters and tell them to get off their duffs s-- BEFORE this turns into another Bush disaster.
Remember, these are the professionals who landed almost 4,500 airplanes within a matter of minutes on September 11th. And they're the same people who lost their homes and belongings during Hurricane Katrina, Rita, and Wilma but stayed at work to make sure others were lifted to safety – they are heroes. Don’t we owe it to them? Or is it just Bush playing President on Air Force One that deserves a safe flying experience? John Carr, NATCA's president has a cool blog you might want to check out-- entertaining and informative.