The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) is proud that two of its members have been invited by their congressional representatives to be guests at tonight’s State of the Union address held at the U.S. Capitol. PASS Chapter FL1 President, Douglas Lowe, is the guest of Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and PASS Chapter CA3 member, Joe Rodgers, is the guest of Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.).
Lowe is an airways transportation systems specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who works at Orlando International Airport. Rodgers is an engineering technician with the FAA who works at Ontario [California] International Airport. Both men are military veterans who chose to continue serving their country by joining the FAA.
Lowe was working without pay and Rodgers was furloughed. They are just two of the more than 800,000 federal employees who were severely affected during the 35-day government shutdown.
“I want to thank Representatives Soto and Torres for recognizing the important, safety critical work that our members do on behalf of the American flying public,” said PASS National President Mike Perrone. “It is vitally important for lawmakers to hear directly from their constituents who were impacted by the longest government shutdown in history. They are not nameless, faceless bureaucrats but dedicated public servants caught up in a political tug of war,” he continued.
Every day the shutdown continued, the risk to the American flying public and to the system increased. PASS-represented employees working without pay did their jobs as they do every day: committed to the mission of the FAA and to public service on behalf of all Americans. But stress and fatigue were also building. “When they go to work, they should only have to focus on the job of making sure equipment is properly maintained and certified, not whether their families are financially secure,” said Perrone.
While PASS is proud that its members are being recognized with the honor of attending the State of the Union tonight, it calls on lawmakers to reach a funding deal that will prevent another government shutdown on February 15 and has just one message: fully fund the Department of Transportation and the FAA.