The labor relations program in the Federal Aviation Administration is different than in most agencies as unions that represent employees there have the authority to negotiate on a wider range of topics including wages for some of its employees.
Of course, the labor relations history of the FAA and the union representing air traffic controllers has been much more volatile, culminating in a strike and President Reagan firing all striking controllers back in the 1980’s. No doubt, there is still some lingering resentment on both sides of the bargaining table and the negotiations are now underway for a new labor agreement.
Contract negotiations are now underway at the FAA and the parties are far apart. What the agency is proposing includes a pay freeze for current controllers and a reduction in pay for future controllers. This agency is attempting to bring pay for air traffic controllers into line with other federal agencies. New controllers would still earn more than $100,000 under the agency’s proposal. The agency also stated that “We cannot afford an agreement like 1998 that saddled the FAA with excessive costs, archaic work rules and restrictions on our ability to modernize the system.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the union is taking a different approach: it is proposing annual pay increases of 5.6% and a seven-hour workday.