Trump shutdown ended after only 10 air traffic controllers stayed home

msmspilot

Well-Known Member
So I have two questions:
1) where are they getting that number? The article explicitly states that the FAA did not answer CNNs request to verify it.

2) If 10 people calling out sick can do that to the system, are we not at super critical levels of low staffing?
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
From people I know in the affected facilities, I’m hearing it was a lot more than 10. Don’t know where cnn is getting their number from.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Are the TMU guys at the centers easily replaced/substituted? I always thought of TMU as a "position" that a regular controller couldn't just step into.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
If only it was so easy for pilots to go on strike...
You're right.

Personally despite the protections it affords, this is why I don't care for the RLA very much. There was a union drive at one of my previous shops before I was there that was busted up because despite widespread acceptance, the provisions of the RLA made organization next to impossible in AK. The company also strategically fired or made miserable a ton of pilots who organized at a local coffee shop.

As long as there's a ridiculously long cooling off period and it's not possible simply organize a union then walk off the job the working conditions will be driven by market forces because the pilots that really can't deal will get different jobs rather than go to the trouble.

Beyond that, as long as pilots continue with the "I got mine, f'yall" mentality, it won't get better either. Guys at mainline and mainline unions need to do a better job supporting their regional breathren. I'm not an airline guy at all, but I can definitely see it in my community. There's power in a union.

Era for instance had horrifying working conditions for a long time. It was so bad that in 2008 I knew a dude that tried to off-himself after working there for a year or so. They have gotten objectively better after being bought out, but that's not been driven by union action - it's been the pilot shortage and ownership changes that drove that. Meanwhile Alaska Airlines still used used them as a code share.

If memory serves, you're at Big Purple. That's awesome, it seems like they treat their pilots great and that's due to a strong union in part. That said, lots of purple boxes get on Empire et al, and the working conditions aren't nearly as good. The same can be said for most mainline carriers. I'd like to hope that the pilots at your shop are sponsoring and working to organize the people at the feeders, but I don't know if that's the case, and I have never seen an alpa rep passing out agitprop on the feeder ramp.

It's been my experience that most guys get to mainline and forget about all the "little people" below them (that's not targeted at you BTW, I don't get that vibe from you at all). They think "I made it, thank God I don't have to fly at the regionals/bush/cargo again and go about their lives.

I dunno, I'm rambling, but we are significantly disempowered without the ability to simply walk off the job when enough people in the Union vote to walk.

If the controllers aren't getting paid there should have been a concerted sick out from pilots as well. Hell we should have all simply stopped showing up. There should have been the same from MX unions, the DX unions, the baggage handler unions, etc. We all sink or swim together.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
Are the TMU guys at the centers easily replaced/substituted? I always thought of TMU as a "position" that a regular controller couldn't just step into.
Depends. It's definitely a more specialized form of ATC. Some of them don't do much more than tell sectors within the center when they're projected to get overloaded in the next couple hours. Others are more hands on and do a lot of behind the scenes work so nothing gets unmanageable.
The goal is more towards the second example, and those people are not easily replaced.
 

nabbyfan

Well-Known Member
Are the TMU guys at the centers easily replaced/substituted? I always thought of TMU as a "position" that a regular controller couldn't just step into.
TMU is its own area, and you have to get trained for it. If TMU were to all be sick on a day, they couldn't just take me as a Enroute CPC and throw me into TMU, Id have no idea what to do.

That being said, If TMU were to all be sick.....most controllers would tell you we wouldn't even notice, or the operation might even run more smoothly haha. TMU is where traffic dodgers go that don't want to become management.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
From their own internal Department of Fake News.
My guess, is that during a shutdown you can not be in paid leave status. This includes annual (vacation) and sick. You are in furlough status instead. So my guess is more than 10 didn’t come in, but maybe only those 10 happened to be listed as “sick leave” rather than “furlough” because of managements illegal attempts to track sick leave usuage.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
From my days at a certain large radar facility, I witnessed first hand what can happen if only 5 people call off and no one answers a call up overtime. The concentration of call offs and the willingness of people to cover on OT (which we weren't getting paid for during the shutdown), is much more impactful than the raw number of call offs.

In case you were wondering, it was 4-6 hour delays on international departures across multiple airports.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
From my days at a certain large radar facility, I witnessed first hand what can happen if only 5 people call off and no one answers a call up overtime. The concentration of call offs and the willingness of people to cover on OT (which we weren't getting paid for during the shutdown), is much more impactful than the raw number of call offs.

In case you were wondering, it was 4-6 hour delays on international departures across multiple airports.
From my understanding most of the callouts happened in just a few key areas, and because those areas were so low staffed from the call outs they were pretty much combined to 1 or 2 scopes.
 

mikecweb

Third Generation Arizonan
You're right.

Personally despite the protections it affords, this is why I don't care for the RLA very much. There was a union drive at one of my previous shops before I was there that was busted up because despite widespread acceptance, the provisions of the RLA made organization next to impossible in AK. The company also strategically fired or made miserable a ton of pilots who organized at a local coffee shop.

As long as there's a ridiculously long cooling off period and it's not possible simply organize a union then walk off the job the working conditions will be driven by market forces because the pilots that really can't deal will get different jobs rather than go to the trouble.

Beyond that, as long as pilots continue with the "I got mine, f'yall" mentality, it won't get better either. Guys at mainline and mainline unions need to do a better job supporting their regional breathren. I'm not an airline guy at all, but I can definitely see it in my community. There's power in a union.

Era for instance had horrifying working conditions for a long time. It was so bad that in 2008 I knew a dude that tried to off-himself after working there for a year or so. They have gotten objectively better after being bought out, but that's not been driven by union action - it's been the pilot shortage and ownership changes that drove that. Meanwhile Alaska Airlines still used used them as a code share.

If memory serves, you're at Big Purple. That's awesome, it seems like they treat their pilots great and that's due to a strong union in part. That said, lots of purple boxes get on Empire et al, and the working conditions aren't nearly as good. The same can be said for most mainline carriers. I'd like to hope that the pilots at your shop are sponsoring and working to organize the people at the feeders, but I don't know if that's the case, and I have never seen an alpa rep passing out agitprop on the feeder ramp.

It's been my experience that most guys get to mainline and forget about all the "little people" below them (that's not targeted at you BTW, I don't get that vibe from you at all). They think "I made it, thank God I don't have to fly at the regionals/bush/cargo again and go about their lives.

I dunno, I'm rambling, but we are significantly disempowered without the ability to simply walk off the job when enough people in the Union vote to walk.

If the controllers aren't getting paid there should have been a concerted sick out from pilots as well. Hell we should have all simply stopped showing up. There should have been the same from MX unions, the DX unions, the baggage handler unions, etc. We all sink or swim together.
To be honest there's not much of a drive to improve things at the feeders from the "mainline" ALPA side. If that group wants to organize and join in sure, but the turnover at most of those places prevent a solidify union drive to exist and "mainline" will just shift the flying to a non-union shop that costs less if any gains were realized. It sucks but that's kinda the way it is.

I don't have the attitude, at least I hope I don't, that eff you i got mine. In fact I think, as I've said before, if you aren't humbled by the process of getting to this level then you didn't struggle enough on the way up. I get it, I flew feeder runs in metros and checks in barons, vans, and lears. I get that side but we don't have the bargaining power or will power to go fight for someone not on our seniority list.

I will certainly continue to mentor those that want to continue the climb up the ladder but I will tell anyone, there are no shortcuts and luck plays a more significant role than anyone will really admit.
 
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