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|Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> October 27, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>|
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What happened to all my leaves? I hibernate for three weeks in Washington and my back yard trees...a hundred or so...lose all their foliage. It’s well into fall here in Cleveland. Lucky for me the lawn service vacuums as well as they mow! But enough about the weather...
Monday started off briskly, due mostly to the sheer volume of work which finds it’s way into the executive offices while we are gone. My inbox overfloweth, and my email counter is somewhere around three hundred. I’ll read them all before I go home this afternoon, and answer a bushelful of them. I met early with Leslie Warfield from LaGuardia Tower to discuss the Radar Tower Coalition, who are in town this week for meetings. I also spoke with Alan Clendenin about some Legislative matters, including his budget and his committee’s participation in next year’s Facrep Training.
I like to go into the office early, but as the rest of the world reported for duty it became apparent that this was no ordinary week. We had the Radar Tower Coalition meeting in a conference room on the first floor, the Contract Tower Workgroup meeting in the other half of the first floor conference room (behind the split wall,) the Communications Committee meeting in a conference room on the fifth floor, and the TMC Negotiations in a separate conference room on five. We could have never conducted this much work simultaneously at the old building, and the entire facility is alive with the work of the membership.
I spoke at length with the CommComm, and I’m very excited about their energy. These folks get the prize, hands down, for having the most fun doing hard work. They laughed, teased, made fun, and got a heck of a lot of work accomplished. To them, I say, “Get in my belly.” (They...and Austin Powers fans...understand.) The CommComm is working to combine our web sites, coordinate with the National Communications Department, and make recommendations to make our communications more vibrant and effective. You’ll see the results of their work in the coming weeks and months.
I spoke very briefly with the Radar Tower Coalition, and then stuck my head into Dick Swauger’s meeting as well. I’m very comfortable with our approach to contracting of air traffic control facilities. It can be summed up in three very simple words: Not One More.
I spent a few moments with Barry Krasner discussing outcomes for the TMC negotiations. Barry is the lead on the team, so naturally I expect the outcome to be spectacular. The others on his team are highly confident in him, and it goes without saying that I do as well. I also spoke briefly with Barry about the Engineer’s Pay agreement, and some of the difficulties there.
From there it was off to do the NEB Telcon, which covered a whole host of topics. We discussed liaisons and tech reps, a retirement specialist for NATCA, a new employee for the Communications Department, new hires into ATC-9 facilities, national staffing, a new agency initiative on Model Work Environment, retroactivity pay for the identified facilities, fams in private aircraft, and a few other issues.
Immediately after the telcon I started missing my buddies, so I called up RVP Pat Forrey to talk about my pending trip to see him, then I called up Mike Blake to discuss my pending trip to see him, then I called Rick Thompson to discuss a retroactivity piece for him, and finally I called up Carol Branaman to discuss a pending trip to see her! And yes, the two hour telcon plus the other half dozen phone calls DID eat up my afternoon!
I managed to squeeze in the time to meet with Melinda Kim to discuss the EAP Committee, who will be in town tomorrow. I also met with Jeff Parrish to discuss supervisor staffing and CIC Training, and then finished up with a brief touch-and-go with the Communications Committee.
Tuesday added another group to the happy headquarters mix when the EAP Committee joined us. I started the day at about six am with email, and at seven my pager went off. I immediately retreived it, which is a good thing, because Perry Dogrell from Pensacola was calling from the front door, waiting to see me but locked out!! I ran down to let Perry in, and we had a very useful discussion on the ASR-11 program. I’m not thrilled with some of the inattention this system has been receiving, and I’m going to pay a little closer attention to it in the future.
I killed about an hour in the office taking care of paperwork, filing things, stapling others, and occasionally putting a paper clip on something until it was time to hot-foot it over to FAA for a meeting with Monte Belger. We discussed a full range of issues, including the importance of the ETAP program and my need to get the NVT off the schedule to finish it. We also moved some issues along and brought others to finality. We discussed a couple of facility-specific issues as well, and those so affected are aware of those discussions. It was a very productive meeting.
From there it was back to the National Office to pick up Phil Barbarello, who I asked to accompany me to a meeting with the Inspector General. This meeting was key. We gave Ken a complete overview of the new CIC Training Course, and laid bare some of the tissue-thin arguments he has been hearing over it’s implementation. We discussed a full and complete range of issues with the Inspector General, and I am intent on solidifying our position as a resource for factual, accurate information. It took Phil approximately 90 minutes to research and dispel a “fact” the IG’s office had been given. Chalk one up for the good guys.
I held a short meeting with Bob Taylor and Laurie Bay to discuss stoves. Apparently there is some confusion as to what has and has not been agreed to with respect to stoves in single-egress facilities. We’re going to work on that very quickly.
I spoke with Tim Haines to get him to help me with a project I’m closing, and then I spoke with Mark Sherry and Randy Weiland about Privatization. In the past our direction has been bilateral on this subject, but that’s not the platform that I ran on, and not what you told me to do. You told me you want the forces of NATCA brought down on contracting and privatization with equal force and might. So it shall be done.
I spoke again with the CommComm, just because they sounded like they were having fun again. They’re making swift progress on the web stuff, and I’m excited. I hope to triple the number of users of our web-based information services in the next three years. If you’re reading this and aren’t currently a user, please contact Doug Laughter or any one of the Communications Committee members and make my dreams come true.
Wednesday I went in extra early because I knew I was only going to get a half day in the office. I talked to Susan about contacting PAACE in regards to becoming a chartered NATCA local, and I spoke with Adell about my travel arrangements. Please don’t even kid yourself to think that I went this far into my week without talking to Adell, either! I speak to her daily, sometimes hourly, and I will never get tired of telling you that she is the very best thing that ever happened to my Presidency.
I spoke with Dale Wright about some local financial information. If your local is delinquent in filing LM-3s or LM-4s with the National Office, please take steps to fix the problem as soon as possible. If you are in a leadership position and reading this and thinking, “What the heck is an LM3 or 4?”, please contact Dale and let him help keep you out of jail.
I spoke with Randy about a few issues, and spoke with the FAA about liaisons. It seems my solicitation for new talent from which to choose has gotten their attention. That’s cool...I like attention.
I jumped in a cab about ten am for a flight to Indianapolis to attend the Great Lakes Region Facrep Meeting. Great flight, and a dynamite airport in Indy. Clean, wide concourses, interesting things to see as you go rushing by.
I got downtown and noticed two things immediately: The lobby was swarming with teenage girls, 15 going on 25, and the hotel was surrounded by giant motor coaches. I thought to myself, “This Pat Forrey, he really knows how to put on a Facrep Meeting! This is great! I never expected a reception like this!” It turns out all the attention wasn’t for me after all, but for some group named “N’SYNC”. They were staying at our hotel and performing that night. When I told Pat’s assistant Laurel about it she asked me, “What do you think about an autograph?” I confessed that if they asked me for one I would give it.
Great meeting, super group and lots of very incisive questions. They very kindly took me out to dinner in downtown Indy to a fabulous Italian restaurant, but I must confess I made a very bad date. I had 22 messages pour in during the day, and I spent the before and after dinner hours returning phone calls. Rodney, Randy, Ruth, Don, Alan, John, Frances, Mark, Kevin, Martin, Jimmy, Paul, and more. In sync, indeed!! Thank you, Great Lakes, for the hospitality and the trust you have placed in me.
Thursday morning---and the shuttle bus---came too early. It figures I get a great room in a great hotel, and all I can do is sleep, shower and split. I get going about 5:30, and get to the airport by 7am. My flight to Pittsburgh is flawless, and the plane change there was refreshing. Memo to self: Shop at the Pittsburgh airport. Can that be right? A mall in the terminal?!!? Man, I really love airports. Off to Manchester, for the New England Regional Facrep Meeting.
I arrive in Manchester at 1pm, and Mike Blake greets me to take me to the meeting. As he walks up he finds me in the Presidential position...cell phone buried in my ear, talking to Andy about some media inquiries (Hi Andy.) Mike takes me to Nashua, and we hook up with his group.
Oh, by the way...what a lovely part of the country, and a lovely time to see it. Rolling hills, brilliant forests in every color of nature, giant boulders in clear streams, straight-backed chairs in hotel conference rooms...
The New England Region was fabulous. They treated me like a brother and a friend, which makes my job so easy to get up for that I can’t describe it to you. The questions are always well thought out and intelligent, and the patience people have for justice is simply breathtaking. Jim Morin and Laurie Bay were there as well, and gave a great presentation on MSPB and OWCP and some other issues.
Ron Geoffroy took me back to the airport after the meeting, and when I got there the gate agent advised me that my flight to Philly would be delayed thirty minutes. I pointed out to him that my connection in Philly was only thirty minutes, and it looked like I might miss it.
“Just out of curiosity,” I said, “What’s causing the delay?” “It’s an air traffic control delay, sir,” the agent replied. I took out my business card, put it in front of him, and said, “Today’s your lucky day, sir! I just happen to be able to make that go away for you. Now if you could manage to get an aircraft pulled up to that empty jetway there, we can be on our way.”
The agent took one look at the card, a second look at me, and said, “We have a nonstop to DC that’s leaving in five minutes four gates away...would you like me to get you on it?” I accepted his gracious offer, and was back in the District by seven pm. I called Mrs. Bull to tell her I’d be early, and when I got to National she kept me on the line long enough to sneak up behind me in the cabbie line and surprise me. I took her to dinner for it.
Aye, caramba! It’s Friday already, and still the bottom of the inbox is nowhere in sight. I talk to Adell about my plan for the day, and hook up with Ruth for some much needed one on one. We only have about 900 hours of stuff to talk about. While conferring with Ruth in walks Barry Krasner, who informs me that we have a tentative agreement for the TMCs and Notam Specialists. It took him three days. The contract will be sent out for ratification by the TMCs in the near future, and by the Notam Specialists (eight of them) after we iron out a wrinkle or two in their pay. Three days, and the TMC leadership is ecstatic. Incredible. You will see Barry’s name closely linked with negotiations over contracts for many of our new bargaining units in the coming months, for obvious reasons.
I catch up on snail mail and email until ten, and then it’s the weekly Directors Meeting. We discussed a new Performance Appraisal Form for NATCA employees, who until now have had no performance review system. We also discussed the need for a new position in accounting, and a few other human resource issues.
Ken briefed us on a GAO visit next week, which he and Blackie will handle in Ruth and my absence. We also discussed some language being circulated on Capitol Hill with respect to staff and managerial pay, but that’s all I’ll say about it in THIS forum!
We discussed some F and E needs for the new building, and discussed getting our new Membership Directory off the ground. We talked about the budget lightly, and then discussed some training initiatives like the new contracts for Facrep Training. The meeting, again, was very productive.
From there I went straight to a monthly Staff Meeting. Whew...It’s a good thing it’s Friday, because I’m almost meeting’d out! The staff is eager to meet, and we had a very, very good discussion on issues ranging from parking, our holiday party, the coming performance eval system, and children in the workplace. I took some notes, and as always I left the meeting with more ideas than I came in with, which made it a very productive use of my time.
Waiting outside the meeting was my one o’clock appointment from the IG’s office. We went up to my place and had another very fruitful discussion. I believe they are unaccustomed to hearing things in controller-speak, but that’s OK. They’ll get used to it long before I start sounding like a politician. We discussed CIC , Contract Training under WCG, equipment, staffing, delays, Article 17, and special interest groups. I could have spent all day with these men, and I committed to doing just that if they ever needed me. This relationship is going places.
I met with John Shea and Keith Harrison on the STARS Program next. We had a very productive discussion, and we’re fortunate to have these two on the program. I’ll know in the next two weeks or so just exactly what my requirements are going to be for augmenting them here in DC. I’ll keep you posted.
At three o’clock I heard the bird scream, so I slid down the dinosaur’s tail and into my Flintstone-mobile. I took a cab to Union Station, hooked up with Mrs. Bull coming off the Metro, and hopped on the MARC train to BWI where we caught the 520pm flight to Cleveland. Jill’s sister picked us up, and we just completed a cutthroat game of cards. I’m typing this at one o’clock in the morning, bone tired and weary.
But I’d like to take just one more moment of your time if I might. In eleven days our nation will decide our next President, and they will decide who controls the House and the Senate as well. I would like to urge each and every one of you to vote, and to spend some of your own very precious time and energy in compelling others to vote.
NATCA has endorsed Al Gore for President. We do so based on his positions on the issues which matter most to us as a union and a profession. Partisan politics are not for the faint or weak of heart. As your President I do not shrink from the leadership role you have entrusted to me. We have made our choice, our organizational choice, and I strongly and wholeheartedly support it. I am voting for Al Gore for President of the United States.
This election is the closest in over twenty years, and it will be close enough that it is entirely conceivable that our organization can affect the final outcome. I can promise you we will NOT affect the outcome if we sit on the sidelines and watch. I urge each and every one of you to vote, to encourage others to vote, and to spend just a little bit of your free time volunteering in the campaigns which are so vital to our interests as air traffic controllers.
Now I can sleep. The Friday update is done, albeit on Saturday morning. I miss talking to airplanes, and I think I’m gonna have to pop into a Tower, or a Center, or a TRACON pretty soon. Somebody throw on a batch of bad coffee, and rinse out a dirty mug for me, will ya?