Remembering 9/11

On a sunlit Tuesday morning 21 years ago, the men and women of PASS were on the job as usual, working for the American public. What transpired that day changed our nation and the aviation industry forever. In the days, weeks and months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) employees represented by PASS went above and beyond their usual selfless dedication to their work.

PASS National President Dave Spero was at work in Oklahoma on 9/11. “I witnessed the remarkable professionalism of my co-workers and air traffic controllers to secure facilities and bring aircraft in safely,” he said.

Over 4,000 planes were grounded and those in the air directed to the closest airport. PASS members and bargaining unit employees staffed phones to address pilot, mechanic and public concerns and monitored airports and facilities 24 hours a day, coordinating mandates from the White House, Department of Transportation and the FAA. At the request of DoD, these dedicated public servants staffed long-range radars throughout the country and worked with the Air Force to provide additional radar surveillance, data and voice communication capability to the military.

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PASS VP Appointed to Federal Safety Council

PASS is pleased to announce that Region III Vice President Ray Baggett has been selected to serve on the reestablished Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH). The council advises the Secretary of Labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. FACOSH was disbanded in 2018 but in September 2021, President Biden issued an executive order reinstating FACOSH as well as other advisory committees.

“Congratulations to Brother Ray on this impressive appointment,” said National President Dave Spero. “This is an incredible opportunity for the voice of PASS to be at the forefront of workplace safety. Ray’s extensive history with occupational safety and health will no doubt be essential to the work done by this council. He is a strong advocate for PASS and all federal workers.”

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PASS Supports Push to Block Schedule F

Last Tuesday, legislation was introduced to block an effort to reinstitute a plan that would strip federal employees of their civil service protections. It would stop any administration from firing career employees to install political appointees. This legislation mirrors that passed in the House last month as part of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

Senators are seeking to block a push to reinstitute Schedule F. Schedule F was included in an order introduced by the former president toward the end of his term aimed at creating a new class of federal employees. Essentially, Schedule F would remove career federal workers in certain jobs from the General Schedule into a new classification where all their civil service protections would be removed, essentially making them at-will employees.

“The federal workforce, including PASS members, is critical to our country’s success and strength,” said PASS National President Dave Spero. “Allowing politics to interfere with the work of career federal employees is a misguided step. PASS supports this legislation and will work to ensure the continued protection of all federal employees.”

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PASS, Coalition Urge Senators to Oppose Increase in Pilot Retirement Age

This week PASS joined a coalition of aviation industry unions to call on the Senate to reject any legislation that would increase the retirement age for pilots. The current mandatory retirement age for pilots is 65 and is aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),

Noting the continuing stress on air travel this summer, the unions state that “changing the retirement age for pilots in the United States will not increase the supply of pilots but instead have many unintended consequences for passengers and junior pilots.” Such a change would require retraining, increased costs for airline as well as the pilots.

“The discussions related to increasing the pilot retirement age are intended to be a quick fix to the false narrative of inadequate pilot supply and another excuse for some airlines to water down pilot training requirements and flight experience time. However, the real problem is airline management’s poor planning for a pandemic recovery,” the coalition wrote.

“Our unions represent employees in a wide variety of aviation-related professions,” said PASS National President Dave Spero. “But central to all of their work is the safety of the National Airspace System and ultimately, the American flying public. PASS is proud to lend its support to this important issue.”

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Nomination of Phillip Washington as Next FAA Administrator

PASS's statement on the nomination of Phillip A. Washington to be the next FAA administrator:

PASS welcomes the news that the Biden Administration has put forth a nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the next administrator. Acting Administrator Billy Nolen has been serving admirably in that role since the retirement of Steve Dickson at the end of March.

PASS looks forward to working with Mr. Washington on the many challenges facing the FAA. We are encouraged by Mr. Washington’s management skills as demonstrated while serving as the CEO at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Denver International Airport. This experience will be instrumental in implementing provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) within the FAA, work he has begun with the BIL funds received by Denver’s airport. 

PASS looks forward to the nomination process, which will allow Mr. Washington to present his goals and initiatives for the FAA and how those will impact the employees we represent.

Our Members Work Where the Aviation Equipment Is!


Americans have returned to air travel this year in numbers not seen since before the pandemic began. They encounter TSA officers, gate agents and flight crews on their journey. They know there are controllers in the airport tower giving instructions to the pilots. But behind the scenes, thousands of PASS-represented employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) are there to ensure the flight crews are following proper procedures; airplanes are maintained and certified; radar, communication and navigation equipment is inspected and maintained; and so much more. And when that equipment is in the Gulf of Mexico, our members are there as well. Maintaining and repairing the complicated equipment and systems that support air traffic control is not as easy as making an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar and bringing your laptop or iPad to the store. You have to go to the equipment.

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