In an industry-wide show of support, Canadian air traffic controllers have bought hundreds of pizzas for their American colleagues who are dealing with the partial government shutdown. The ongoing shutdown, which started in December, has left around 10,000 U.S. air traffic controllers working without pay, so their counterparts to the north wanted to do something nice for them.
Paul Duffey, head of the Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association, says a lot of union members were looking to show solidarity with their American counterparts, who they interact with on a daily basis while managing North American airspace together.
He says the idea started when employees at Edmonton’s control center took up a collection to buy pies for controllers in Anchorage, Alaska and then other centers across Canada joined in and he estimates more than 36 facilities have gotten pizza from Canada and some 300 pies have been received, and that number is growing by the hour.
“Air traffic control is a very stressful job,” Duffey explains, “People just don’t need to be reporting to work with the added stress of worrying about how to pay their mortgages and grocery bills on top of it.”