The Air Line Pilots Assn. said Monday that it will move toward organizing the nation’s air traffic controllers, posing a possible confrontation with another union representing government workers.
The pilots’ surprise move could collide with efforts of the American Federation of Government Employees, which has been attempting to unionize the controllers for more than a year. ALPA said it believes that the controllers would prefer to join the pilots’ union.
If ALPA succeeds, it raises the prospect of a potent labor organization confronting the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the nationwide air traffic control system.
A strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization in August, 1981, resulted in the firings of 11,400 controllers for violating the law against strikes by government workers.