Air traffic controllers sue Trump over unpaid work
The union that represents air traffic controllers nationwide is suing President Trump, saying forcing employees to work without pay during the partial government shutdown violates the Constitution.
About 400 members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association work in Alaska. The union has filed the suit on behalf of members, asking for interest on back pay and attorneys' fees among other things.
Clinten Lancaster, vice president of the association's Alaska region, says not getting paid is tough for many of its members.
"Seventy percent of our workforce is less than five years in the agency. So these are folks that don't necessarily have significant amounts of money that they've been able to put away," he said.
Lancaster says the shutdown has also caused some issues for air traffic controllers in training who came to Alaska to train in Kenai. Three of the five are from Florida, California and Minnesota.
"They can't attend the academy because of the shutdown, so they're stuck in a place they don't live in necessarily and they have to pay all of their own bills while they're waiting for their paychecks to come in from the government," Lancaster said. "So a lot of them are pretty financially strained right now."
The other two trainees are from Dillingham and Fairbanks.
Lancaster says NATCA has asked the courts to fast-track the issue, and that a judge has already been assigned. He says the union considers both the president and the Federal Aviation Administration its members' employers.
Trump is on the record saying he will sign a bill in Congress to pay people once the shutdown is over.
Copyright KTVA 2019. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: