Air Traffic Controllers Battle Over Contract

April 19, 2006

"Air traffic controllers at O'Hare Airport say a proposed contract could endanger public safety.

The controllers say pay changes in the Federal Aviation Administration's contract offer could force many long-time controllers to retire.

Craig Burzych is with the air traffic controllers' union. He says retirements would burden an already limited workforce at O'Hare, and endanger public safety.

""Without enough air traffic controllers, somebody else has to pick up the workload, and what you have is busy controllers who become even busier,"" Burzych says. ""It just decreases the safety margin. It is not a good situation.""

Meanwhile, an FAA spokesman says its offer is fair, and would increase wages.

He says the controllers' demands are unreasonable and would prevent investment in new air traffic control technology."