After the shutdown: Why Professional Aviation Safety Specialists still picketed

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Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) picket Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (courtesy photo)

Around 30 people gathered at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in the bitter cold on Saturday morning, January 26, to call for an end to all government shutdowns.  The informational picket, organized by members of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), was to highlight the harmful effects of the 35-day government shutdown on our nation’s aviation infrastructure.

“Aviation plays a critical role in the nation’s economy and provides invaluable services to the flying public and the military,” said Mike Perrone, National President of PASS. “The aviation system provides $1.5 trillion through the commercial aviation industry and 12 million American jobs. It is crucial that such a major aspect of this country’s economic engine have the necessary financial resources it needs through stable funding for the FAA.”

NH APWU Representative Dana Colletti with Regional PASS Representative Luke Drake  (courtesy photo)

Although a temporary deal to reopen the government was reached late Friday night, the fix is only temporary. The deal would open the government for three weeks in an effort to resolve political issues over border security funding.  This means that if a deal cannot be reached between President Trump and Congress by February 15, the nation could face another government shutdown.

In an interview with WMUR, PASS member Mike Yanis stated he was “happy that this shutdown is over” but is concerned that it will happen again. He wants to see Congress take action to fully fund the government for the long term “instead of these constant short-term continuing resolutions.”

National leaders also spoke out against the government shutdown and warned against future shutdowns.

“Preventing another government shutdown starts with understanding the important functions federal workers play,” said Larry Willis, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.  “For too long, some have demonized America’s federal workforce, and that must end now. Federal employees are dedicated public servants who, as this shutdown has shown us, regularly put the interests of this nation ahead of their own. Marginalizing the critical work they do only jeopardizes our nation’s safety, security, and economic vitality.”

“Over the next three weeks, Congress must pass full-year appropriations for all government agencies as well legislation to make all affected federal employees whole,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “We are also urging Congress to act to prevent the use of shutdowns from ever occurring again.”

Matthew Murray is founder of the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message, and oversees the NH Labor News Facebook page. Follow @NHLabor_News on Twitter.