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NIW Today 2014

A publication of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association

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Patricia C. Gilbert Executive Vice President Steve Weidner National Legislative Committee Chairman Paul M. Rinaldi President WELCOME // MAY 19-21, 2014 n i w . n a t c a . n e t 03 Dear NATCA Brothers and Sisters, Thank you for joining us for NATCA in Washington (NiW) 2014, and welcome to our nation's capital! Once again, we gather here on the Hill to learn, educate, and advocate for the safety and efficiency of our National Airspace System (NAS) and the future and security of our professions. The partisan hostility that has tainted Washington for the past few years has forced a fundamental change in the way the FAA must plan its budget. In order to achieve critical advancements in NextGen, and indeed to even maintain current safety and technology, the FAA must be able to budget years in advance. Instead, throughout much of the last year, planning even a fiscal quarter in advance was impossible. The fate of the NAS was turned into a political football. On a national level and in light of sequestration, furloughs and government shutdowns, it's become apparent that stable funding of the NAS is crucial to keeping the skies safe and the economy strong. On a personal level, it's the cornerstone of each and every one of our livelihoods. The furloughs that occurred as a result of the government shutdown in October 2013 were an awful distraction from our goal, our passion: running the safest, most efficient air space in the world. It would have been easy to have tunnel vision last fall, but we never forgot that our bargaining unit employees were not the only group affected by the furloughs. Federal employees everywhere should not have to shoulder the enormous and unfair burden of reducing the national deficit. As long as our nation's budget crisis continues, an uncertain future looms for all of us. That's important to remember as you speak with your policymakers this week. Sequestration is still in effect today. It's easy to lose sight of that as indiscriminate, across-the-board budget cuts have been postponed until 2016. But just like the nearly 740 million people who traveled by air in the U.S. last year, time flies. We very well might have to fight the battles of 2013 again, and we have to be ready. We have to be prepared. Your preparation starts today. By taking time out of your busy schedules to join us this week in Washington, D.C., you are making an important contribution to your Union and this great country. Over the course of the next couple days, you will hear from members of Congress, Washington insiders, and your Union leadership. You will also meet your National Legislative Committee and the members of our Government Affairs Department. These dedicated people do so much to protect our professions. Don't hesitate to talk with them and ask them your questions. They are a resource, and we are lucky to have them. There's a lot of serious business to do this week, but we think you'll find that you're really going to enjoy yourselves, too! Let's hit the Hill! In solidarity,

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