- Published: August 25, 2023
This week, PASS held its constitutional convention in Steel Town, aka Pittsburgh, PA! As a nod to the union steelworkers who built the city’s economy, the convention theme was “Forging our Future.”
“We are here to build PASS into a Great Union and Forge our Future,” said National President Dave Spero in his opening remarks. “We are here because we care,” he continued. “Not only for our union, but for the working families we represent daily. We care about assuring that good federal jobs are available for the next generation.”
National Secretary-Treasurer Carlos Aguirre reflected on his own union background and his parents, who came to the U.S. from Ecuador in the 1950s. They both joined unions. “To them, being part of a union meant having a good paying job, one that paid decent wages in order to raise a family,” Aguirre said. “It meant saving for a nice vacation every once in a while. It meant being able to save for a down payment to buy a house and having a pension to carry you in retirement.”
The union also paid tribute to its founding president, Howard Johannssen, who passed away in October 2022.
While the important work of the union was conducted—delegates debated proposed changes to the PASS Constitution—the gathering heard from numerous guest speakers, including Pennsylvania congressional members Chris Deluzio (PA-17) and Summer Lee (PA-12). Both lawmakers expressed their support for unions, collective bargaining rights and proper funding for the FAA. They also pledged to block any attempts to implement Schedule F, which would strip collective bargaining rights from thousands of federal employees.
Speakers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where PASS represents 11,000 employees, included Polly Trottenberg, Acting FAA Administrator; Jeff Planty, Vice President of the FAA’s Technical Operations; and Larry Fields, Acting Executive Director of the agency’s Flight Standards Service. The gathering also heard from Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board and Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, CWA, sent video greetings to PASS members and delegates.
President Spero urged the delegates and members to become even more active and they build the union’s power. “We will ask you to do more, but we will have the tools and the resources to make that happen,” he said. “We must be at the forefront of all issues of aviation safety. That can only happen when the grassroots of our union—through your leadership as the faces of our union—stand together.”