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dagwud
Senior Contributor

Unions cost lives?

I have long believed that unions have served an important role in helping bring about fair pay and better safety in the work place.  However I also believe that there are many instances where unions have gone to far and received to many concessions.  Now it appears the National Air Traffic Controllers Association which is associated with AFL-CIO has made it very hard to get rid the bad apples in their midst which has lead to two near mid-air collisions in the last 9 months both caused by the same air traffic controller.

 

 

Air traffic controller relieved of duty again

An air traffic controller who nearly caused a midair collision last year has been relieved of duty again after putting two planes on converging courses. The case raises questions about whether employee rights are trumping safety at the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

Shortly after beginning the7 p.m.work shift at the FAA radar facility atGulfport-BiloxiInternationalAirportinMississippion Feb. 29, controller Robert Beck ordered an Air Force C-130, a four-engine turboprop, to increase its altitude from 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet and to adjust its heading. That put the jet on a converging course with a twin-engine turboprop owned by the Department of Homeland Security, according to an FAA employee with knowledge of the incident.

 

Ralph Humphrey, Beck's former boss, said he tried repeatedly last year to get the controller fired, but FAA officials inWashingtonignored his requests.

 

"It's typical of trying to get rid of problem employees" at FAA, said Humphrey, who was the air traffic manager inGulfportuntil he retired in January. "It is **bleep** difficult to get rid of an employee for cause."



63 Replies
rawhide
Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

the govt. would just blame it on terroists and make us strip naked and pay another 100 dollars per ticket for "security"

kraft-t
Senior Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

What did you determine was the reason for the error. Reckless endangerment? Willful neglect? Or human error?

 

What is your reason for dismissal?

dagwud
Senior Contributor

Re: Unions cost lives?

Don: "What did you determine was the reason for the error. Reckless endangerment? Willful neglect? Or human error?

 What is your reason for dismissal?

 

You would have to ask the air traffic controller's boss that question.  Obviously the man is not very good at his job if he has twice put airplanes on a collision course in less then a year. 

 

The real question should be, Should the union have so much power that it becomes very hard to fire inept air traffic controllers when their mistakes can endanger the lives of hundreds of air travelers?

bruce MN
Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

Could be that it's because unionized air traffic controllers see to it that 10s if not hundreds of thousands of people every day and millions every year land safely in airplanes that are guided  to their destinations with the number one priority being a safe takeoff and landing, which involves not hitting other stuff in the air. 

 

I don't fly alot but when I do I'm tickled shiiteless that the guys telling my pilot that it's OK to take off now and to land now is a professional and the only guarantee I have of that is from his union.  They are considerably higher standard holders than the corporate airlines of the corporatist state/ federal govenment that is supposed to be overseeing them. 

dagwud
Senior Contributor

Re: Unions cost lives?

My question still is, Should it be hard to fire inept air traffic controllers when numerous lives are at stake?

 

I have to question your line about the union being your only guarantee that the air traffic controllers are professional.  Don't you think the FAA has something to do with training and certification?

 

When I worked for CNW as a machinist I had to take numerous welding test to be certified to weld on locomotives.  I don't recall the union having anything to do with it.  It was my employer, CNW that had me take the test and sent in my numerous welding examples to be x-rayed and tested.

 

To me an air traffic controller is similar to a doctor or surgeon where you are putting your life in their hands.  What if doctors and surgeons were allowed to unionize and it became very hard for hospitals to get rid of the bad doctors?   Most folks would never know if they had a bad doctor just as they never know if they have a bad air traffic controller.

 

I believe there are certain jobs that one can not hold if they get arrested and found guilty for OWI or DUI.   Yet it is alright for an air traffic controller to repeatedly screw up and almost cause mid-air collisions yet keep their job???? 

bruce MN
Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

Sorrydag..I didn't address that.  No....unions shouldn't exist to keep air traffic controllers keep their jobs if they are inept and have proven to be so.  Nor teachers (changes are being made all over the country on that) nor doctors nor Indian Chiefs.  

 

But the fact that there are some bad ones, as there are in any profession or occupation or voacation, keeps being used as anecdotal evidence revealing the evil of Unions.  Which is pure and total bull crap.  That's all I was saying.  You didn't mention the exception so neither did I.

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

Bruce, you read a lot more than I do. What are some examples of how the fight against inept teachers is going? Did NYC finally get the green light to get rid of pedophiles and other miscreants, or do they still have the "rubber rooms" that the New Yorker magazine wrote about a few years ago?

 

No clue how it was where you live and/or grew up, but the teachers that would not do their lessons, the ones that had affairs with kids, etc. never got fired in my home town. Occasionally if the offense was too severe, they would get some salary and move on to do their "good deeds" elsewhere, but fire? Heaven forbid.

 

 

bruce MN
Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

There is legislation being considered right now in Minnesota Red to change the "first in, first out" policy.  It's got support from both parties.  not sure how much or enough, as it's damned tough politics.  I doubt that teachers uniions or education advocates would ever oppose or ever would have opposed it if there was some sort of safeguard against it being used for idealogical witch hunting, which you and I both know would happen.  In many small, homgenous towns particulalry.  Nobody dissaproves more of inept and indolent teachers than good teachers who have to work with them do.   The see the effects in real time.  There is a time lag before it becomes evident to the community.

 

 There actually always is more genuine concern with the direction of education out there than the strident opponents of  public education would ever admit to.  They keep the "incidents and anecdotes" flying around in a very efficient manner. as you just assisted them in.

 

Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Unions cost lives?

so the short answer is, "nothing", right? about fifty years of my life, and if anything, teacher unions are more powerful than ever. Make a note to let me know when something changes.