Canadian air traffic controllers send pizza to US workers during Government shutdown

Air traffic controllers in Canada are making a show of solidarity with their U.S. counterparts affected by the partial government shutdown with a coordinated effort to buy them pizza.

Air traffic controllers in Moncton, New Brunswick and Gander, Newfoundland ordered 32 pies Friday night to be delivered to the New York Air Traffic Control Center in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., HuffPost Canada reported Saturday.

David Lombardo, a former New York center employee, shared a photo to Reddit of a sign posted in the center alerting them of the incoming delivery.

Air traffic controllers are some of the 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association sued the federal government on Friday as the shutdown ended its third week, accusing the Trump administration of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lombardo told HuffPost Canada that Canadian and New York air traffic controllers often work in tandem, “handing off” planes to each other as they cross the airspace boundaries.

“Thanks for showing up to work and keeping things safe!” read one message from Vancouver to Seattle. “This one is on us. Your Brothers and Sisters to the North.”

Ron Singer, a spokesman for Nav Canada, the group that employs all Canadian air traffic controllers, told HuffPost Canada that all seven control centers in Canada sent pizza to the U.S., in a gesture completely organized by employees and unions.

“We are very proud of the thoughtfulness that our controllers have shown to their colleagues in the U.S., proud but not surprised,” Singer said.

Why is there a shutdown?

President Trump is refusing to approve a budget unless it includes funds for a wall along the Mexican border. Democrats have rejected his request for $5.7bn (£4.5bn).

About a quarter of the federal government is still out of operation until a spending plan is agreed.

On Friday, the affected federal workers – including prison guards, airport staff and FBI agents – missed their first salaries of the year.


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