<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Vice Presidential Update for March 9, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> March 9, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

March 9, 2001

Sisters and Brothers,

It is good to be back online. I would like to start this update by expressing my sincere thanks to the National Communications Committee for the countless hours they have spent over the past several weeks to get our new web presence up and running. They have been working on their breaks and days off to bring this site to you and each day brought more progress. I was apparent they were working through the night. I missed not being able to put up my update and it is good to be back.

This week started with the voice mail system crashing. Luckily, Adell had not left on her vacation and she was able to come in over the weekend to reset it and left me with the secret code to reset the system, which we had to do several times during the week, including countless phone calls to tech support who finally had to fly down a technician who has still not properly diagnosed the problem. Unfortunately, our voice mail system is a balance between the local phone company, Verizon and AVS, the voice mail provider. AVS has not found the problem and believes it may lie with the local phone company.

Monday morning John and I got together to discuss several pending issues, he left for a reporter breakfast and I spent the morning with Jose Ceballos, our Policy Director looking at areas where we can expand our influence on the contracting and privatization debate. Jose’s job is to promote NATCA’s position to outside groups and policy makers, augmenting the work of both communications and legislative and cutting across all of NATCA’s departments to promote our policies. Questions unrelated to these activities should continue to go to the respective departments.

I followed up with Amr Eslway of MITRE CAASD on our discussion from the previous week on assembling a group. The FAA has been unsuccessful in breaking the Pena vacuum tube image and all of the work our members have done to get new technology out has been lost in terms of public perception.

At midday, John, Courtney, Jose, Doug and I went to view the new commercials we had made to transition our CNN airtime from image building to advocacy. We spent an hour or so tweeking the graphics so the message plays even if the audience cannot hear the sound. They have switched over this weekend and I believe you will enjoy these professional, targeted anti-privatization ads. That afternoon we started interviewing applicants for the Communications Director position.

Tuesday, the Classification Adjustment Board held their first meeting, joined by Rodney Turner. I met with Jerry Whitaker for an update on the NAL reorganization. Jose and I met to work on the strategy to combat the oceanic threat that continues to loom on the horizon. Ken Meade continues to promote oceanic as an opportunity to “experiment” with new organizational structure. Ideas have ranged from an oceanic PBO to contracting out the ocean. Last I checked, oceanic was part of the en route option.

John and I attended the Former Members of Congress Association dinner honoring Norm Mineta. It was an interesting event. I never imagined when I left for the dinner that I would see Tom Delay as an auctioneer. Mineta was given the statesman of the year award. John and I had a brief opportunity to talk to him, but we spent most of the evening with a parade of aviation industry folks.

Wednesday morning John and I met with Susan to review all of our employee position descriptions. It was a tedious task, but important. It is the first step in our employee evaluation process that is required by the employee manual, but had not been institutionalized. Donna Gunter, our Human Resources Specialist, has been working to ensure we stay on track in this effort. As our union grows as both a labor union as an employer, it is important that we have mechanisms in place to ensure we are a good and fair employer.

John Tune and Mark Pallone came to town so we could work on the bylaw to create a retired member category that allows for expanded participation. We reviewed the data each of us had collected from other unions regarding retired member dues, benefits and privileges. We also went over the sense we had from talking to members interested in this category. The difficulty is that we currently have only 21 retired members, each paying $35.00/ year in dues. That does provide funding for much of anything. We are keenly aware that we will have many members retiring in the near future and that we should not base a program on such a small sample. We will be developing a survey to send out to the general membership to see what they would like to see available when they become retired members as well as gathering data from our current retirees.

I met with Jake Sweeney, Assistant director for membership at the Alliance of Retired Citizens, which is an AFL group in which our retired members are automatically included. They focus on continued political and community involvement for retired union members. He brought additional information from other unions and literature that I will forward to Mark on John to aid in our progress.

Thursday, José and I attended the ABA Air and Space Law forum on Aviation in Transition. It covered many of our issues and hosted panels featuring diverse perspectives on issues like privatization, contracting, passenger bills of rights, airline mergers, competition and aviation reporting. There were at least 30 speakers and the most common theme was concrete. The build new runway theme seems to be the one thing everyone can agree on.

That evening, I met Mike Blake to brainstorm the MITRE CAASD project and see what NATCA can do to move an effort forward that talks about a realistic and achievable future for ATC. Currently, lopsided special interest ideas get a lot of attention merely because no realistic vision of the future is offered. Instead, we have single focus ideas put forward (like privatization) and there is nothing to offer to the contrary.

Friday morning, I finished making all of my travel plans for next week LAS-ANC-FAI and tried to get my work covered so I can be out of the office for a week. At 10:00 it was over to the AFL building for a Transportation Trades Department meeting on aviation issues, where Ken and Christine joined me. I talked with Ed Wytkind about the MAC vacancy and followed it up with Abby, the PASS legislative rep about getting together to solve this problem. As much as each president (AFSCME, NATCA, PASS) wants the seat, it is hurting all of us to allow the committee to meet with the labor seat vacant.

Courtney, John and I interviewed two more applicants for the Communications director position. John and I met with Barry Krasner to discuss the interest rate on the building note. We ended the day with a meeting with our account executive from H&K, joined by Doug and Jose. Then it was off to Zoar, Ohio on Friday night to join my husband and attend my brother’s wedding.

In Solidarity,

Ruth Marlin

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