Monday, February 06, 2006

Good Thing Reagan Croaked

Accusations, Vitriol Fly in Very Public Negotiations Between FAA, Air Traffic Controllers
By Stephen Barr
Washington Post

The union president writes a blog, The Main Bang. He courts lawmakers on Capitol Hill in hopes of gaining leverage at the negotiating table.

The agency head calls in an outside auditor to validate her figures on pay and benefits and counter the union's claims. Top aides issue an investigative report charging that a New York union local allowed members to abuse overtime, sick leave and workers compensation benefits.

The contract negotiations between the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Federal Aviation Administration are adversarial and high-stakes. Both sides contend that the other makes false claims; both hold news briefings in hopes of advancing their bargaining position.

Last week, a federal mediator who has been sitting in on the talks called for an end to the public debate and, perhaps, the accompanying rancor.

The mediator proposed "a news blackout," which he said "would certainly be constructive and supportive to ongoing negotiations. We agreed to the news blackout, but on Thursday, NATCA refused," said Greg Martin , a spokesman for FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.


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