FLRA Sides with PASS on Collective Bargaining Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO, the union that represents FAA systems specialists, has cause for celebration following last week’s Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) decision in its favor regarding the FAA’s Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) case.

After months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with the FAA, in March 2006, PASS realized that the agency had no intention of reaching an agreement designed to satisfy both parties. It became clear to the union’s negotiators that the agency’s offer was the best that could be obtained under the circumstances. Therefore, PASS accepted the agency’s proposal but made it clear that it would not support this tentative agreement during the ratification process. PASS took this action to allow its members an opportunity to voice their opinion, an opportunity the agency tried so hard to deny.

While 98 percent of PASS members voted not to ratify the tentative agreement, the FAA pursued its ULP case against PASS. Although, the charge was initially dismissed by the FLRA’s Regional Director in July 2006, the FAA appealed to the FLRA’s General Counsel, who, noting the absence of precedent, issued a complaint to allow the FLRA to clarify the rules concerning membership ratification. Last week, the judge dismissed the case entirely – ruling that PASS did not fail to bargain in good faith.

In his decision dismissing all charges against PASS, the judge stated, “I do not consider it a coincidence that in the bargaining environment of the case, where the FAA has interpreted and applied its unique bargaining statute to deprive the Panel of jurisdiction to resolve bargaining disputes, one of its unions has sought to resort to a form of force: not economic, but political force, through the vehicle of a vote of its members on the agency’s proposals. This may not have been the academic exercise of reasoned discussion that the FAA hoped for, but then neither was its threat to submit its final proposals to Congress and implement them without permitting resolution by the Panel. The FAA may be correct in its interpretation of title 49, but such an interpretation invited a response by the Union, and the Union’s response in this case appears to me to be entirely lawful.”

“We are very pleased with the FLRA’s decision and feel justified with the way we responded the FAA’s strong-arm tactics at the negotiating table,” said PASS National President Tom Brantley. “Now that the judge has validated PASS’s position, we look forward to returning to the negotiating table with the FAA and are very hopeful that we can reach a mutually agreeable contract. Doing so is vital not only to restoring the morale of FAA employees, but it also will enable PASS members to focus their energies on the safe and efficient operation of the National Airspace System.”

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PASS represents more than 11,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight procedures and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems. For more information, visit the PASS website at http://www.passnational.org/.

Aug 6, 2007 - 10:29:00 AM
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