Everytime I'm on long line in front of an airport scanning machine, holding my shoes in one hand and losening my belt with the other, I keep wondering if air travel will go back to normal once we get rid of the catastrophic Bush Regime. Unfortunately, there are still things they can do now to screw up air travel for many years into the future. And they're working on it! Last summer, we saw first-hand how their gross mismanagement and inherent disdain for government's ability to protect its citizens led to virtually criminal levels of negligence in saving the citizens and the city of New Orleans. Another Bush lemming is at it again-- and a simple phone call can help stop them-- now.
The Bush Regime is bringing that same level of incompetence and malfeasance to threaten our safety in the skies (and, if you like to travel as much as I do, that's a big deal). Sixty days ago, Bush's FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey (a Dubya political crony who does not have flight experience and whose only qualification for thejob is who she knows and that she hates organized labor), got up and walked out on the nation's air traffic controllers during negotiations... preferring to impose her will on them rather than complete voluntary bargaining on a new contract. She unilaterally terminated bargaining, breaking up talks with dedicated public servants who are asking for nothing more than fairness and accountability at the table.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 6, the U.S. House of Representatives will suspend the rules for consideration of a bill that will make the critical difference between a fair arrangement that strengthens our nation's air traffic control system or the unilateral imposition of one-sided pay and work rules that could have disastrous consequences for the national airspace system the air traffic controller serve. Debate will unfold on Tuesday afternoon, and the vote on this bill will take place on Wednesday, June 7.
If you support the principle of collective bargaining and if you care about air safety, do yourself and the nation a favor and call 1-877-FAIRFAA (1-877-324-7322) TODAY! Your call will be re-directed to your Congressman by entering your zip code. Tell your Congressperson that you are asking for a fair hearing and a fair vote for the nation's air traffic controllers. Tell them to vote "YES" on H.R. 5449, the LaTourette Bill. You can also check out what the head of the air traffic controllers has to say on his blog.
Quite simply, Bush's FAA seems intent on devastating the nation's aviation system-- compromising safety and efficiency for the sake of running the FAA "like a business"... you know, a model Bush Regime business like Enron or WorldCon. I don't know about you, but when I get on a plane (or when someone I love gets on a plane) I'm not looking for the lowest-bidder to be guiding the plane through the skies. I'd rather have as many seasoned professionals as are needed, who are respected by their employers and not feeling stomped on by management. But if the Bush FAA has its way... I think I may start going Greyhound.
The FAA's version of the contract will literally incentivize the most seasoned controllers to take their retirement as soon as they can. The result of that significant loss in staffing, particularly of the most skilled controllers, will affect the entire system... forcing slow downs in some of the busiest facilities. Simply put, the most senior controllers work in the busiest facilities-- if we lose significant staffing in those facilities, America's travelers should expect a significant increase in delays. With fewer experienced eyes watching the skies, the air traffic controllers will be forced to slow down the system to keep it safe.
Classic Bush Regime maneuvers-- he puts an unqualified political supporter and lackey, Marion Blakey, in charge of the nation's aviation system. Sounds familiar-- a crony with no direct experience, running an agency responsible for safety and welfare? Brownie, with his Arabian horse background, did a "heck of a job" with the safety and welfare of the people of the Gulf Coast, right? The President's actions regarding the FAA reflect contempt for the world's safest air traffic control system, and in fact, for America's travelers. Marion Blakey's continued claims that she wants to run the FAA "like a business" should strike fear in the public's heart, as she apparently wants to "Enron-ize" the system that is responsible for air safety... the safety of you and your loved ones.