Pizza Delivery from Canada to U.S. Air Traffic Controllers
In a gesture of solidarity with their U.S. counterparts, who during their country’s prolonged government shutdown are not getting paid, but still have to show up for work – Canadian air traffic controllers decided to show their support for their colleagues by ordering pizza and having it delivered to them.
It all started last Thursday in Edmonton AB, when air traffic controllers there came up with the idea to send pizzas to their U.S. colleagues in Anchorage, Alaska – where as cold as it could be, it was just as warmly received. From there it grew from coast to coast, when Canadian air traffic controllers from cities as far East as Moncton NB and Gander NF, to Vancouver in the West and many more cities in between, followed their lead and started having pizzas sent to U.S. air traffic control centers in areas including New York, Utah, El Paso (Texas) and Minneapolis (Minnesota).
Former US air traffic controller David Lombardo, living in Long Island NY, helped to bring public attention to the Canadian gesture when he posted a picture on Reddit of a sign hanging at the air traffic control center in Ronkonkoma NY, with details about an expected delivery of 32 pizzas ordered by Canadians. Since last Thursday at least 350 pizzas have been sent to approximately 50 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) units across the United States and more is expected.
Since December 22nd, US Air traffic controllers, considered ‘Essential’ federal employees, have not been paid for their work – due to the partial government shutdown ordered by President Trump over a dispute about funding for a border wall. And they have no idea when they will be paid. In the meantime, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) the union representing U.S. air traffic controllers filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington on January 11th requesting an order to have the government start paying the controllers for their work and what they are owed.
As this challenging situation continues, our Canadian ATC’s gesture has offered them more than just some all-dressed or pepperoni filled comfort food – it has let them know they are not alone and have support.