Government shutdown is forcing air traffic controllers’ families to choose between gas, food: NATCA president

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is calling for the immediate end to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Paul Rinaldi, president of the NATCA, told FOX Business that the partial shutdown is becoming detrimental to the livelihood of the estimated 14,000 federal air traffic controllers.

“Now they have to make a decision, do I continue to put the gas in the car or do I actually put food on the table for my children,” he said during an exclusive interview on “Countdown to the Closing Bell” Monday.

The partial government shutdown is going into its fifth week with no sign of a truce looming as the Trump administration and the Democratic-led House battle over border security funding.

“This shutdown needs to end now,” Rinaldi said. “Every day this goes on it has negative impact on the people that are keeping airplanes safe throughout the system and it has a negative impact on our nation’s economy.”

NATCA filed a lawsuit against the federal government last week for freezing the paychecks of its members. A federal judge denied the AFL-CIO affiliated organization’s request for an expedited hearing on its motion for a temporary restraining order against the U.S. government.


Although the temporary restraining order didn’t work to NATCA’s advantage, Rinaldi said, the air traffic controllers will have their day in court.

“At the end of the month, we are going to get our day in court to pay our controllers that lived up to their side of the agreement and came to work every day doing their outstanding job and the federal government needs to pay them.”