Amid the chaos and financial uncertainty of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, there have been moments of kindness and compassion. One such gracious act came from across the Canadian border, when The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association units in Gander, N.L., and Moncton, N.B. decided to order pizzas for their American counterparts down in the control center on Long Island. The group of federal workers are just a few of some 800,000 who have gone without pay since the shutdown began December 22.
“It’s been so overwhelmingly negative and it’s nice to see that there’s solidarity out there. There’s people out there who are just saying, ‘Hey, I work with you as a friend or a colleague and here’s a nice gesture of friendship, that we care,'” said David Lombardo, a former air traffic controller from Long Island who now runs social pages for those involved in the industry.
“Aviation is a really tight-knit group of people, it’s like a family,” he added, as reported by CBC. “And plus, it goes against the whole rhetoric here that we’re talking about because it’s an international boundary!”
Billions of dollars are owed to federal workers, with the President unable to agree on a budget with te Democrats. The political deadlock is mainly due to his desire to build an enormous wall on the Southern U.S.-Mexico border. Unfortunately, with both sides refusing to compromise and now something of a standoff, the government is closed for business and workers don’t know when their next paycheck will arrive. Several lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration with regards to the withholding of pay.
“They’re worried about their mortgages, their medical bills. It’s one thing to have a date set and say, ‘Hey you’re going to get your back pay in a week or two,’ but they have absolutely no idea when they’re going to get paid, And you can imagine that’s pretty disheartening and pretty scary for many people,” said Lombardo.
'Thank you, Canada!' Canadian air traffic controllers buy pizza for air traffic controllers in 41 bordering US centres who are working without pay during shutdown. Winnipeg bought for Minneapolis. Photo: Thayer Davis, Minneapolis Control Tower #CBCNews pic.twitter.com/b2994cyp6z
— Erin Brohman (@BrohmanCBC) January 14, 2019
Deputy director of public affairs with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Doug Church, was also mightily impressed by the show of generosity from their Canadian colleagues.
“It’s just a really good shot in the arm of positive energy and positive emotion to know that, ‘Hey they’ve got our back,'” he said.
“On behalf of the entire NATCA and air traffic control around this country, we extend our thanks and our gratitude.”
So far, the Canadian crews have sent pizza deliveries to some 35 different units across the country.