Monday, December 08, 2008

Just Plain Mean

I know that the Bush Administration has spent the last eight years actively destroying the gains made by organized labor. During the Clinton Administration, President Clinton had signed an Executive order that declared air traffic control to be an inherently governmental function. That simply means that the responsibility of providing safety for the flying public belongs to the government. Oversight of safe air travel is a duty of the Federal Aviation Administration.

President Bush quickly signed an Order that stripped the "inherently governmental function" from air traffic control to pave the way towards privatization of the industry. A vital part of the system--Flight Service Stations--has been contracted out in what has turned out to be the grand fiasco of the decade. The government now pays a private contractor to provide pilots with the information and services that were once provided by government employees. This was supposed to be a cost savings move. Instead, it just provides some politically savvy friends of Washington with a lot of money and little oversight. The service that was once providing general aviation pilots with all kinds of pertinent information is now the joke of the industry.

All of that happened some years ago and we (air traffic controllers) have been fighting to keep the FAA from consolidating facilities and getting air traffic controllers ready for contracting out. We have been in a contract dispute for the past two years, operating under imposed conditions when our Agreement clearly states that it will remain in effect until a New Agreement is reached.

And now, as a parting shot to federal labor unions, President Bush has signed an Executive Order to deny bargaining rights to certain government employees. You can read about it here.
Talk about just being mean! If our soon to be former executive wants to do something in his last 43 days (and counting) in office, why not do something meaningful? Why force soon to be President Obama to waste his time signing executive orders that nullify the personal attacks on organized labor? Why not just get around to issuing Presidential Pardons to our convicted Alaskan Senator and what ever other buddies he's going to pardon...and go home?

I know that the President's actions won't always be popular with all of the people...but that is just plain mean. It makes me think of the kid on the playground turning around and sticking out his tongue as he's being sent home for misbehaving.



Mike said...

Awesome post. I think you just made me happy.

Anonymous said...

Let's show them what "mean" really is. In brotherehood:

It’s classic EEL! Failed FAA Acting Administrator "Bobby" (The Eel) Sturgell is once again trying to blame everyone and everything else but himself for his own awful failures on his way out the door. Not enough de-icer? Sturgell blames natural causes… Labor unions… Who else has Sturgell blamed lately? Congress… The ATCs… Whistle-blowers… “Politics”… “Special Interests”… The pilots... Israel… The airlines… The EEL-Of-Sturgell will even blame useless FAA functionary “colleagues”, as if those aero-publicist hacks actually did any work to begin with. Bye EEL!

Sicilian said...

John. . . for those of us not in your world it is great info. . . not sure why it doesn't surprise me, but somehow Dubya is going to go down swinging and reveling in his belief that no oversight means everyone behaves and watches themselves. . . . which would be why everyone is standing in line with their hands out right now. . . . must be that free market adusting due to natural greed which prevailed during the Republican reign.
It makes me ache that ya'll are getting the screws turned tighter.

Claudia said...

Well-placed passion!

Anonymous said...

"The government now pays a private contractor to provide pilots with the information and services that were once provided by government employees."

John, doesn't it just make sense to obtain certain information from independent parties, like information about safety? Are you really opposed to thrird-party analyses of airplane safety?

John said...

The problem is that it is the government that has the job of safety oversight and has been giving contracts to former FAA bigshots that has gone to work for the companies that they were supposed to be regulating. In any other business, this would be a major conflict of interest. These contractors are more interested in making money that they are in aviation safety.

I'm all for fiscal responsibility in the FAA, but safety shouldn't be for sale.