PASS Calls on Congress and the FAA to Address Workforce Staffing and Retention

Investing in the FAA’s Technical Operations and Aviation Safety employees can create lasting change for the aviation community and build confidence in the FAA’s ability to provide new services and technologies, National President Dave Spero told Congress today.

PASS represents 11,000 FAA employees across the agency. Technical employees in the Air Traffic Organization’s (ATO) Technical Operations install, maintain, repair and certify the radar, navigation, communication and power systems making up the National Airspace System (NAS). PASS also represents aviation safety inspectors and other employees within the Office of Aviation Safety (AVS). Aviation safety inspectors are responsible for certification, oversight, surveillance and enforcement of the entire aviation system.

“The work of FAA technicians is vital to the safe and efficient operation of the NAS,” said President Spero. “Sufficiently staffing this workforce can lead to the upgrade of the NAS in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner.” To that end, PASS is asking that the FAA be directed to establish a Technical Operations Workforce Plan and consult with PASS in its creation and implementation.

The PASS leader also addressed his concerns about the FAA’s inability to effectively and consistently staff the inspector workforce, and the agency itself has recognized the need to maintain a robust inspector workforce.

President Spero's statement to Committee

Yet according to a 2021 report by the Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG), an alarming 59% and 79% of Certificate Management Office and Flight Standards District Office managers, respectively, said their offices are short-staffed. “Among the reasons cited in the IG report for understaffing are many reasons cited by PASS over the years,” Spero told the committee. “These include increasing workload, hiring challenges, extended hiring and training periods, and increasing oversight responsibility (including for the evolving UAS segment),” he continued. PASS is asking that the FAA be directed to revise its inspector staffing model in consultation with the union and is also requesting that the FAA increase the number of safety-critical positions in the Flight Standards Service.

He noted that PASS is currently in contract negotiations with the FAA for the employees it represents in both ATO and AVS. “Contract negotiations should serve as the perfect vehicle to promote recruitment and retention efforts,” continued Spero. “However, I regret to report that little progress has been made, especially when it comes to AVS negotiations. We sincerely seek to assist the agency in maintaining and enhancing its aviation safety workforce if only the agency was as equally committed.”

Contact Liz Doherty, Communications Director

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