<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Presidential Update for February 2, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for February 2, 2001


Monday began with some catch up work on phone calls and regular mail. It was good to get out of DC last week, but the volume of work that comes into the office is just astounding. While we can all retrieve email on the road it’s the inbox full of regular mail that buries us.

I talked to Bill Peacock reference the LA Center staffing issue first thing in the morning, and I think we’ve got that dilemma resolved. Bill invited me over to the FAA for a meet and greet with Secretary Mineta this morning, but my schedule is full, and I expect we’ll be doing plenty of meeting and greeting before it’s all said and done so I took a pass this time. I talked to Steve Dye reference some consolidation issues, and then again with Bill P. on our NAR MOU.

From there I welcomed Alan Moore, AF-1 to NATCA Headquarters for a meeting. We discussed some generalities, as well as some specific problems my folks are having with his folks in Alaska. Mr. Moore committed to looking into the situation there for me, and hopefully we can get those problems resolved soon so we can move forward in the post-CMP world.

After Alan left I worked with Susan on some personnel issues, and then talked to Fred Duval from Hill and Knowlton. Susan came back to coordinate some details with me, and then I joined Ruth next door in interviewing a candidate for our Policy Director position. The interviews went very well, and we hope to announce something on this position next week.

I managed to speak to Jim D’Agati in reference to my meeting with Alan Moore, but the remainder of the afternoon was consumed by personnel issues and meetings with attorneys.

At three o’clock Ruth and I went over to meet with Administrator Garvey and Monte Belger on some spring and summer initiatives. We are working very collaboratively with the Agency on the planning for this year’s convective weather season, and I’ll be asking for help on this effort from every quarter. We also discussed a few other topics with the FAA that are better left unposted at this point. Suffice it to say that Jane and Monte and Ruth and I get along very well, and we’re working to drive collaborative decision-making and responsibility down into our respective organizations.

I took dozens of phone calls today, and cleaned out some old reminders, as well. Steve Lester from ZOA and Ham from ZLA and Darryl Meachum from ZFW and Mike Seiko from Bay and Rob Cannon from Tamiami and Kevin Devery from PHL and Jerry McArthur from ZMA and Ray Gibbons from C90 and Randy Kath from ZID, and others all weighed in on various subjects at various times.

Tuesday I worked on replacing Randy on the CIP project, and I’ve got a candidate I think the EBoard will approve of. I nailed down my flight arrangements for the coming week which for the first time in a long time took an hour on the phone. Arrrrghhh. I talked to Mike Blake about the Classification Adjustment Board, then called Michael Thomas over at the FAA to leave a message on OSHECOMM.

Ruth got the Director’s Meeting started while I worked on a few projects in my office, and I joined the group in the middle of the meeting. We discussed my upcoming schedule as well as Ruth’s, and the once-around-the-room produced some valuable information for all of us. Lew is back after his shoulder surgery so the Membership Department is back in high gear, and the Training Department is flush off the success of the first Facrep Class of the new millennium. Dale Wright joined us, and he will be working with Safety and Tech to keep up with the swamping amount of work they have to do. Courtney sat in for the Communications Department, and they are ready to cover a few big-time events in the near future, including the contract signings this afternoon.

We held an NMI Meeting at noon, and with a quorum present we confirmed two new NMI Board members. Now Barry won’t have to meet alone! NMI has a ways to go to being a profit-making enterprise, but we’ve got sound leadership and a good foundation.

At three we all headed over to the FAA for the Engineers and Architects contract signing, as well as the TMC Contract signing. All four negotiating teams were there, our two and the FAA’s two, as well as an assortment of dignitaries and observers. I had the distinct honor and privelege of signing two contracts in one afternoon (a first for our union,) each having been ratified by more than ninety percent of their respective units.

I’m exceptionally proud of the teams’ work, and I think these agreements will serve as stepping stones for future negotiations. Special thanks goes out to Barry Krasner and Bob Taylor, who stewarded the teams through their respective processes. That evening I took the two teams out to dinner, and Ruth and I were both privileged to be made Honorary Engineers. I’m incredibly humbled by that.

Wednesday morning I spent some quality time with Mike Fanfalone, the President of PASS. We discussed the MAC, the upcoming AFL-CIO Meetings in Los Angeles, and some other labor initiatives we are toying with exploring. More on those later.

I talked to Candi reference some thorny membership issues, and then did a quick interview with an outside attorney working a removal case against one of our members.

I spent the next few hours with Liz Hanson and Mark Gonzales from the DOT/IG’s office discussing capacity enhancement issues and a few other things. As you all know I am shy to share my opinion on these matters, so once Liz and Mark asked the opening question they were lucky to get a word in edge-wise. Mark looked like he was writing with high speed paper and a water-cooled pen. I hope they got it all down.

I worked with Ray Gibbons from C90 again on the pending discipline cases there. Of the original group of proposed actions two have been recently dropped and one has been reduced. We continue to work diligently in defending the rights of these individuals with the very finest in legal and labor representation.

Another afternoon meeting with Susan Grundmann, and if I see her much more this week I’m going to claim her as a dependent. We discussed hiring a representative for and from the Contract Towers to do some work for those members, and of course we couldn’t skip past the pending personnel issues we had brewing. Bob and Ruth joined us to discuss some other LR issues, and that was that for the pregnant one...

Who was replaced in my office by the tall one. Karl Grundmann stopped by to pre-brief me on my visit to NASA Ames next week and to solicit my help for getting him some people on a couple of NASA projects. We got him moving on the AILS issue, but the Direct-To will have to wait on some problems we are having with Southwest Region management.

I find it hard to believe that the ONLY Centers in the country who weren’t recognized for their excellence during DSR transitions were Houston, Fort Worth and Albuquerque. It is even more disturbing when I find out that recognition was withheld because of some pending grievances. That kind of retribution is unacceptable to this Union. Until we clear up THAT mess, as well as the mess that is the Fort Worth DSR immunity issue, it looks like Direct-To and other pet projects in the SW Region are going nowhere fast. Collaboration with me is going to be a two way street or it’s going to be a dead end.

I met with Bob Howard briefly on some OSHA issues, including stoves in single egress facilities. I hope to get this issue off the docket soon, one way or the other. As I led Bob out the door it seemed the vestibule had exploded with people waiting to see me, which was unfortunate because I was leaving.

Mike Blake and I went over to FAA for a meeting with Jane and her senior staff to discuss the FAA’s pending decision on the Boston Consolidated TRACON project. We expressed our position as forcefully as we could. We recognize that Boston and Manchester are at the end of their life cycles; however, we do not believe that the alternative chosen by the FAA is the most prudent, or the only one available. We don’t buy the data or the modeling projections, and we reiterated our opposition due to the potential for creating opportunities for contracting out. Jane was clearly in a difficult position, and I wish her good luck with her decision. We expect to hear something next week.

I took the Metro from FAA out to Vienna where I discovered that I had left my car keys on my desk back at the office. Since Jill was on the blower I couldn’t reach her, so I boarded a bus out to Centerville and managed to get home a mere two hours after leaving FAA Headquarters. The low-grade headache I’d been nursing since Monday was now a full blown migrane.

It was late so I scooped up Mrs. Bull and headed out to catch up with my Spring/Summer 2001 Team. The Article 17/52 Team, working with a few others and several from the TMC ranks, has been meeting to get trained on the coming initiatives. They will then head out into the field to train as many people as we can on the plan for the season. We enjoyed a long dinner and lots of good company, and I had the opportunity to discuss some business with Carol Branaman, Phil and Mike McNally (who’s working on the NAR MOU for me.)

Thursday morning Ruth and I met with Fred Duval from Hill and Knowlton. We brainstormed around our issues and advocacy campaign, and mapped out a plan of action for the next six months or so. We’ll be shooting a new commercial soon to take advantage of our remaining buy on CNN and to pivot our message from introduction towards advocacy. We also have H&K looking into beginning an aggressive Editorial Board campaign and possible road show for me in the April-May timeframe.

Here’s a surprise...after Fred left, I met with Susan on some legal issues!

Mid-morning I welcomed Barrett Byrnes, Leslie Warfield, Dan D’Agostino and Gary Palm to the office to discuss staffing and personnel issues at LGA, JFK, EWR and TEB. We had what I think was a very productive discussion, and they were able to also discuss some of their concerns with other National Office staffers.

It was great to have my friends from the New York metroplex handy because my afternoon was booked with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit, presented by the National Chamber Foundation. The agenda was a veritable who’s who of aviation, with speeches and panels including Secretary Mineta, Administrator Garvey, myself, Congressman James Oberstar, the CEO’s of Delta and other airlines, and the editor-in-chief of Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine (who asked me to do a guest editorial, by the way.) The audience was packed with four or five hundred of the industry’s finest, and the summit got lots of good press attention.

I had the chance to talk to Carol Hallett, the President and CEO of the ATA, about their new call for accelerated spending on FAA projects and 1650 new controllers. She is very anxious to meet with me to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, and I'm very excited by the prospect of a potential alliance. Their press release is a major departure for them, but then, the week seemed full of those. Even the FAA's own release confessed that technology will bring only marginal improvement to the capacity of the system, and nothing would increase capacity like concrete. I immediately added something from both releases to my remarks.

I spoke with Ed Bolen, Chairman of the MAC and President of GAMA, about our mutual goals and objectives, and we continue to build our relationship. I also had the opportunity to talk to friends of ours from Lockeed, ARINC, Mitre, Boeing, and many others.

My remarks and press release can be found on natca.net. In addition to my work on the panel I lit up one panelist during another discussion who said, “Government control of air traffic is not needed to maintain safety.” I was recognized from the podium, stood up, introduced myself, and said, “I’d like to ask you how you can reconcile your statement that government control of air traffic is not needed to maintain safety with the fact that the moment AIR21 lifted the high density rule from La Guardia airport the users rushed in with unfettered discretion and added 600 flights to an already overcrowded airport, creating a dangerous and potentially unsafe situation. And before you answer let me warn you that we’re kind of hunting in a baited field here. You see, I brought the facility representatives and controllers from Newark, LaGuardia, JFK and Teterboro with me in case anybody decided to play fast and loose with the facts.” The audience loved it, and I don’t think anybody even paid attention to the answer. I know I didn’t...I just wanted to put that question on the record in front of 500 heavy hitters and a dozen cameras.

I also answered one question from the audience about why O'Hare didn't have a new runway by answering, "That's a good question. Lucky for you, Mayor Daley will be here tomorrow morning, and you can ask him for yourself. And while you're at it, you might ask him why he's going to bulldoze a perfectly good Meigs airport, put in a city park, and send those corporate jets up to O'Hare to compete for your slots."

After the panel ended I was approached by two individuals who identified themselves as volunteers from the "Friends Of Meigs Committee." They had paid their own way to the Summit in hopes of drawing attention to their plight, and I had given them more air time and exposure with my answer than they had any reason to expect. They assured me that their 5,000 members were on our side if we needed them for letter writing or any of our own campaigns. I took their cards, gave them mine and promised to stay in touch. As it turned out, the Mayor had a competing appointment and could not attend his panel, but again, our exposure on this issue was wide, wide, wide.

I shmoozed until almost six thirty, then stepped outside, hopped into the presidential limo, and drove to Cleveland, arriving at around 1:30 Friday morning.

I had every intention of taking Friday off since I‘ll be working Saturday, but my calls and emails followed me so I spent most of the day coordinating with Phil and Carol on the IPP/MPP/PCS situation, working with the national office staff on pending issues, and talking to both Bill and Jane on a few trouble spots. I did squeeze in a board game around 8:30, and then it was back over here to pound out the update.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I fly over to Philly for a hub meeting sponsored by the PHL Local, and back to Cleveland tomorrow night before driving to DC on Sunday afternoon.

In other news before I go, our Communications Department Director Sherrod Shim is no longer with us. We will begin searching for her replacement in earnest early next week. Additionally, Ms. Laurie Bay from our Labor Relations Staff will not be working with us any longer, and Bob Taylor will be redistributing his workload amongst his staff while he interviews new applicants for openings in LR.

This week seemed odd and curious, from the constant droning of personnel issues to the saga of the lost keys. In spite of the occasional adversity we came through it with flying colors and even moved our agenda forward in the process. We’ve had to deal with quite a few internal personnel issues, but that’s not to be unexpected in a business of this size. After all we employ almost fifty people, and somebody’s got to be in charge of them.

I reckon it’ll be me.

It’s one thirty in the morning and the alarm for my early flight goes off in less than four hours. Best wishes, and we’ll talk to you all again next week.

John



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