The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATA) is demanding a $30 million severance package for its union members after it lost its bid to negotiate with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
The union, which represents the FAA’s air traffic control division, voted last month to reject a proposal by DOT to increase their pay by 1.6% to $120,000 per year.
The move came after a meeting last month between the union and DOT representatives.
The union has long been critical of the FAA, which they believe is more interested in profit than safety.
The proposal for a 1.5% pay increase comes on top of the $12.5 billion budget cut proposed by DOT for the air travel industry last year.
“We are not here to play the political game, we are here to fight for the safety of the American people,” NATA President Joe McGinn said at a press conference after the meeting.
The DOT said it is currently considering other options to improve its air traffic system, including expanding its network, making the airport more flexible and expanding air traffic management functions.
The agency has proposed reducing the size of air traffic facilities and eliminating the airport’s primary airport runway.
A spokeswoman for the DOT did not immediately respond to Recode’s request for comment.