Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleeping Air Traffic Controllers and Union Busting

It is ironic that it was at Reagan National Airport that a non-union, swing shift air traffic controller fell asleep at the controls.  Ironic because if Reagan hadn't been a union busting asshole there probably would have been two people in that tower that night and they probably would have been working consistent shifts so they wouldn't be so sleepy as to not be awakened by the radio, ringing telephones, or warning noises from the control systems.  The GOP "fuck the workers" attitude pays off again with results that anyone but conservatives could see coming from a mile away.  "Do more with less," generally means "work like a slave, bitch and then take the blame when you fail" and our air transportation system is an example of how incredibly stupid this ideal is.  Since traffic is "slow" at night there is only one person directing traffic, apparently under such low staff conditions that there isn't anyone else at the airport that the FAA could call to check on the lone controller.  Meanwhile we're dumping billions of dollars into bullshit passenger and luggage screening systems and machinery manned by overworked assholes that hate what they're doing and miss actual danger about 90% of the time, making the entire process of flying an unpleasant invasion of privacy and paranoid over reaction.  But thanks to Reagan you can rest assured the people directing air traffic have no means of bargaining for better working hours or more pay.  The person making sure when your flight takes off there isn't another plane in its way or that when it lands it is aimed at the runway and not a tall building may have health problems that aren't covered by his insurance because he and others with the same job can't organize to bargain for better coverage or he or she might even be losing their home because of low pay and might think directing the plane you're on into a hillside would show "them." 

I cannot understand the logic behind running something as complicated as our air transport system on a shoe-string budget when a single failure can easily result in the deaths of hundreds of people.  Our pilots are quitting in droves as their workload far exceeds safety while their pay plummets to the level of school teachers from that of surgeons while wall street bankers that hold nothing but someone else's money in their control walk away from disaster after disaster extremely rich men.  And that's exactly how Reagan wanted it.  He wanted the rich to get richer and everyone else to work hard and die young, and the GOP is carrying on his tradition. 

Of course it's going to be that poor guy in the control tower that's going to get fucked the worst in all this.  How dare he be unable to stay awake after being jerked from daytime to nighttime duty, pulling 12 hour shifts day after day, and barely making a middle class living!  Doesn't he know he needs to pay for the tax cuts for billionaires our "President" just allowed through.  Fuck air traffic controllers.  They're not very important to those with private jets.