MONTRÉAL (AP) – Canadian air traffic controllers bought hundreds of pizzas from their American counterparts in the past few days as part of a rally that became widespread in the industry during the government's partial closure. American.

Peter Duffey, President of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, announced on Sunday that the initiative was launched Thursday when employees at the Edmonton Control Center began a collection to buy pies from controllers in Anchorage, Ontario. Alaska.

Other facilities across Canada have decided to join it and the idea has snowballed.

"The next thing we knew, our members were buying pizzas left and right for US colleagues," Duffey said. "In the current state of things, I think we have 36 establishments that have received pizzas from Canada, and that number is increasing every hour."

In the United States, about 10,000 air traffic controllers have been working unpaid since the end of December because of the government's ongoing closure.

Duffey estimates that by Sunday afternoon, some 300 pizzas had been received by US controllers, many of whom had used social media to express their gratitude.

Duffey said many union members have been looking for a way to show solidarity with their American colleagues.

"Air traffic control is a very stressful job," he said. "They say you have to be right 100%, 100% of the time." People simply do not need to come to work with the added stress of worrying about how to pay their mortgages. and their grocery bills and more. "

Ron Singer, Nav Canada's national media director, who manages the country's civil air navigation, said Canadian and US air traffic controllers interact "every day" in the management of North American airspace.

"There is a link, automatically," he says.

Mark Sheehy, Air Traffic Controller in New Hampshire, tweeted pictures of the pizzas and his thanks for "our brothers of the north who send love and solidarity".