The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) issued the following statement today regarding the situation at Chicago’s Midway International Airport:
The number one priority for PASS is the safety and well-being of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees we represent at Midway and around the country. Two technicians have tested positive for COVID-19 and three others are awaiting test results. Our thoughts are with them and their families at this challenging time.
Our representatives on the ground are cooperating fully with the Chicago and State of Illinois health departments and providing information as necessary to keep the disease from spreading locally.
We have been assured by the FAA that the facility is being cleaned and disinfected to the highest medical standards, even surpassing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Once that has been completed and thoroughly inspected with the assistance of PASS safety representatives, the FAA employees will return to the facility to ensure that the air traffic control equipment is running and functioning optimally for when full flight operations have resumed.
As this nationwide emergency is showing no signs of abating, PASS has communicated to FAA leadership that how the agency handles the outbreak at Midway needs to set a gold standard for how it handles outbreaks at any airport or FAA facility. The situation at Midway may be the first, but it most likely won’t be the only airport affected.
PASS is pressing the FAA to take all measures necessary to protect the health of the dedicated public servants who protect the American flying public. The union is looking at ways the agency can accommodate employee concerns, such as allowing technicians to perform work in nontraditional ways, not having them report to a central location to limit interaction with other workers, and more. The union has been pushing for weeks for expanded telework and today, March 18, is a national telework day for the FAA, testing their ability to grant more telework options for employees.
PASS is carefully monitoring the situation with the employees we represent at Midway and the union is doing all it can to assist the affected technicians and their families.