Shutdown frustration mounting for Albany air traffic controllers

January 11, 2019 06:23 PM

COLONIE - The partial government shutdown has a huge impact on air traffic controllers across the country and right here in Albany. One of them, who is also the National Air Traffic Controller Association's facility representative local president at the Albany International Airport's Air Traffic Control Center, is speaking exclusively to NewsChannel 13.

That national organization filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. on Friday against several government officials, demanding air traffic controllers -- who are considered essential FAA employees and must come to work during the shutdown -- get paid.

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Andrew Pegler shared a copy of his paystub with NewsChannel 13. It's for less than $35 for two weeks' worth of work. He says his members are dealing with the same thing, which has affected them professionally at work and personally at home in being able to provide for their families.

The Albany tower is considered fully staffed at 28 certified air traffic controllers. Currently, Pegler says they only have 16 certified controllers, and 16 others currently in training -- with three of them not able to report to work at all because of the shutdown's restrictions on training.

For reference, there were just shy of 70,000 flights in and out of Albany in 2018, according to Pegler.

Pegler says he has an emergency fund, which should last him through a couple of paychecks. However, he added that other people aren't as lucky.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the House passed a bill guaranteeing back pay to federal workers missing paychecks. The bill sailed to passage, with only seven voting in opposition - all Republicans.

A similar bill passed the Senate on Thursday by voice vote, meaning it will be forwarded to President Trump.


Jill Konopka

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