Flight Service Specialists play a critical role in ensuring the safety of America’s skies, providing weather, flight and other vital information to civil aviation pilots across the country. Yet, when the Federal Aviation Administration privatized Flight Service in 2005, Specialists were deprived of their early retirement federal pensions – a benefit for which they had paid increased contributions out of their own paychecks.
Legislation (H.R. 5115) introduced by Congressman Mark Schauer (D-MI), is designed to rectify this serious inequity. If enacted, H.R. 5115 will permit Flight Service personnel who were privatized in 2005 to count their subsequent time as privatized Flight Service employees (or with another job in the federal government) toward their years of service necessary to qualify for enhanced federal early retirement benefits and toward the calculation of their federal benefits.
Covered individuals will also qualify for early retirement benefits if they: (1) reach age 50 with 20 years of service, counting qualified post-FAA time; (2) have 25 or more years of service, counting qualified post-FAA time; or (3) reach age 56.
The IAM represents the current Flight Service Specialists, who now work for Lockheed Martin under a contract with the FAA. H.R. 5115 will help ensure Flight Specialists receive the federal pension benefits to which they are entitled.