Air traffic controllers’ union sues over unpaid work during U.S. government shutdown


Federal air traffic controller union members protest the partial U.S. federal government shutdown in a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) – A union that represents thousands of U.S. air traffic controllers filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Friday claiming its failure to pay the workers during an ongoing partial government shutdown could endanger the safety of passengers.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said that depriving workers of pay violates their constitutional rights and a federal wage law in a lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C.

“America wants its air traffic controllers to be laser-focused on landing planes safely and monitoring America’s runways, not distracted by financial issues and anxiety of financial instability,” the union said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is at least the third filed by a union on behalf of federal employees who have not been paid during the shutdown, which began Dec. 22.

Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and James Dalgleish

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