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|Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> November 17, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>|
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Finally…Friday!!! The week hasn’t flown by like so many of them but then again it seems it was only just Monday. I think I’m too exhausted to figure it out, so I’ll just jump right in here…
Monday began at 0615 with a meeting with Dale Wright from the Finance Committee. Dale was checking into some financial issues and needed to talk to me, and this was the only time that I had available all day. Luckily it was Budget Week for the NEB, so Dale was keeping long hours, too.
At seven Ruth and I welcomed Fred DuVal from Hill and Knowlton to our offices. We discussed the Florida situation, the advocacy campaign, and some of their perspectives on our internal organization. We also discussed transition activities in the event of either a Bush or Gore victory, and we strategized some policy processes and intermediate term planning.
As a group we committed to some time frames for planning and decision making, with a rough plan due to us by the end of next week and Lobby Week the target for completion of our next phase. We also acknowledged the coming anniversary of the PATCO strike, and did some minor brainstorming around that.
From there it was off to the NEB meeting. As a group we are new at this, although many members remain from previous boards. I think we acclimated well, and overall I’m very pleased with the amount of work we managed to accomplish.
Some of the things we addressed…and passed…on Monday include a schedule for this year’s NEB meetings, an ad hoc committee consisting of RVPs to work on Bylaw D-21, staffing negotiations, and liaisons and tech rep guidelines.
The staffing MOU is on it’s way out to the field. With respect to tech reps and liaisons, the board wisely passed a policy which respects our need for corporate knowledge and provides new opportunities for members to serve.
The National Communications Committee visited with us, and I think you will find them very high octane in the coming year. They have a mammoth task ahead of them, bringing all of our web-based services in-house. I have the highest faith and confidence in each and every one of them.
The meeting stretched until after five and by the time the group made it across the street to the hotel and reconvened it was after six. I joined them for a cold diet pop before blazing up to Baltimore to pick up the lovely Mrs. Bull. I was home and working on phone calls to the folks in the western states who’d called me by ten thirty or so.
Tuesday it was into the office at six to catch up, followed by an eight o’clock meeting with David Sandbach from LR to discuss a few issues.
After meeting with David, Ruth and I hustled down to the Executive Board meeting for more fun with the group. We moved on issues surrounding the new staffing standard, specifically section 4. We also discussed the retroactivity pay issue, some pay grievances and medical issues under Article 66. I’m hopeful that a new workgroup will bring equitable treatment to medical issues under this article.
Mr. Jerry McArthur, the ZMA FacRep then addressed the board on ADA accessibility issues. Jerry’s presentation was thoughtful and insightful, and the board agreed to create a national ADA Liaison to serve as our focal point and work with the Agency on issues in the field. This motion, I’m proud to report, passed unanimously.
I left the meeting at midday to participate in an AFL-CIO national president’s telcon on the Florida situation. Ruth took the helm…and the ceremonial candy jar that goes with it…at this point. Chairing a meeting is no picnic, and trying to insure it’s done correctly and in accordance with Robert’s Rules and our own policies is downright intimidating. I think we both acquitted ourselves nicely.
We discussed grievance review processes, with Carol Branaman agreeing to serve as the focal, and we discussed the Communications Committee, and agreed to appoint Mr. Jim D’Agati to the vacancy left by Mr. Otto.
We began nibbling at the edges of the budget but put it off until all the data was available. Instead we discussed the upgrade process at length, and I’m hopeful that we can see some movement on these facilities in the near future. After the board meeting I tried in vain to catch up on not only my messages but my correspondence, as well. I managed most of the phone calls and four formal letters before calling it a day.
Wednesday morning began with some personnel issues in closed session, and then moved quickly into the budget process. In conjunction with the NFC, and working most of the day, we were able to craft a budget, which I believe meets our organizational needs and goals in the coming year. You’ll all get a good look at it when it comes out with the minutes, but I think overall you’ll be supportive of the NEB and the National Finance Committee, both of which endorsed this budget unanimously.
I think a special thank you is in order for Ruth, who worked the numbers with only twenty-six days on the job. She worked with the Finance Department and Committee through most of last weekend to bring it all together, and the final product is a reflection of her hard work.
Phil Barbarello briefed the board on some PCS issues surrounding the MOU with the Agency. We are going to dynamically address this issue immediately in order to attempt to break the logjam our own people are running into in attempting to move up in their careers.
Speaking of Phil, he, Carol Branaman and Mike Blake were honored over at the FAA Wednesday, along with the rest of the Article 17 team. They all went back and forth from our meeting to the ceremony in order to participate in both. No wonder they got awards….
The Election Committee joined us at this point to brief the board on the recent NATCA elections. As an organization it behooves us to look at our procedures to insure compliance with the letter and the spirit of the law. I hope we can incorporate a module into FacRep Training on proper procedures for handling elections.
I left the meeting at this point and the board passed a whole boatload of internal policies, which I won’t spoil by listing here. That gives you something to look forward to in the minutes of the meeting you all receive!
My destination was a meeting with Dan Callahan, Jim Watkins and Mark Penn from SUPCOM. These gentlemen are very cognizant of the new responsibilities we all share under Article 17 and the new CIC agreement, and they voiced support for our efforts in these arenas. Unlike FMA, SUPCOM recognizes the value in increasing the intellectual capital of the workforce. I found this meeting to be very productive, and I’m looking forward to further exchanges on the positions that affect us all.
From the meeting it was over to a DC eatery to join the Article 17 Team for dinner. Jane Garvey was kind enough to attend, and I spent a good deal of the dinner hour in conversation with her. Both sides of this unique labor/management agreement were in attendance, and I think we’ve all got high hopes for the implementation phase.
When I left it was too late for outgoing phone calls, so I spent most of the commute listening to messages I’d stockpiled in my inbox. Whew!!! My ear gets so hot it glows. And all I ended up doing was adding to my list of people to call.
Thursday looked pretty simple when I fired up my Pocket PC……
8am-9am: Meet with Mike Seko
but simple it was NOT. I normally get to the office between six and six thirty, and have some time to do office stuff. Well, first, Susan crashed my early meeting to discuss some pending legal issues. (Hint for future presidents: Start your day with a cup of coffee and a whole batch o’ pending legal issues!)
I then met with Mike from Bay TRACON, and I’m happy to report that his analysis of the situation at NCT mirrors that of the FacRep. I committed a couple of IOUs to Mike, and then hustled down to the NEB meeting.
Don Ossinger gave a very good briefing on pending airspace issues. There are many projects on some very fast tracks, but we are going to insist on slowing down until we get consistency nationwide with respect to backfill overtime. Don committed to getting something together for me in the immediate future.
Along the same lines, we have formed an ad hoc RVP group to craft some language for IPP/MPP/PCS issues, and as soon as it’s ready I’m taking it over to 800 Independence.
Consolidated Pay Rules came to the forefront, as did consolidations in general and the language in Bylaw A49 specifically. From this moment forward, each consolidation project proposed by the agency will be evaluated by your Executive Board against Bylaw A49, and a position of support or opposition will be taken in each case. The Board went on to formally and unanimously oppose Boston Consolidated TRACON and Suncoast Consolidated TRACON.
Pay rules were discussed in Executive Session due to the sensitive nature of the negotiating position.
The NEB Meeting concluded and the NMI Meeting began, although I missed the start due to some personal legal issues which required my immediate attention.
The NMI Board consists of three individuals, and in short order Barry Krasner was confirmed as the newest member, and Mike McNally and Randy Schwitz resigned their positions. There were some other financial discussions about the NMI Budget and operating costs, and in short order the NMI Board Meeting was history.
I hopped in a cab with Ricky Thompson from the Alaskan Region and headed over to Ron Morgan’s office for a meeting. We discussed some Alaska issues around DSR and pay, and I delivered some overdue paper to Ron on the 3R people, who should be getting effective dates shortly.
We discussed C90, stoves (again!), airspace, liaisons, pay rules, and a whole host of other issues. The meeting stretched over two hours and still wasn’t enough, so Ron and I committed to meeting again very soon to do some clean up on these and many other issues.
I made it to the street before one of our RVPs called me to tell me of a pending drug testing question, so I gave Ricky the cab and went back up to see Ron. He picked up the phone, and in less than five minutes we had the answer we had been looking for, which was a decision not to test. I love it when it works like that.
All the back and forth made me twenty minutes late for my dinner with Ruth and Phil Boyer, President of AOPA (the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.) Phil was accompanied by his right hand man Dennis Roberts.
The evening was very productive, with agreement on most of the issues we commonly face, ranging from privatization to contracting out of services. AOPA has 370,000 members, and they are a very vocal and formidable ally to have. I was struck by how genuine these two gentlemen seemed to be in the swirl which is Washington politics. They were kind, thoughtful, and very supportive of us. If you’re ever working Citation 4GA (get it? “For GA”?) tell Phil we said “hi,” and tell him thanks for the support.
Dinner and a cab ride later Ruth and I found ourselves trudging through the garage, staring at each other with this glazed, “see you in a couple of hours” look. It’s a very bizarre lifestyle, this getting up at four, in by six, done by ten, and home by eleven. We both love what we do, and we do a lot of it.
Which brings us to Friday. The NEB moved a motion to create a Member Benefit Committee, with one representative from each region, and that passed. Some other business was attended to in Executive Session, and the NEB adjourned at noon.
From there I was able to stagger up to my office, and begin the task of working the mountain of issues which continue to come in, NEB Meeting or no NEB Meeting.
I worked with Doug Church on some media pieces, including set up of an interview with NBC for Monday. I talked to the FacRep at C90 to check in with them. I consorted with my fellow NEB wizards, since we didn’t get enough of each other all week long. I signed some stuff and might even have faxed something.
And now, just now, I spent from six until eight pm getting uploaded by Blackie Blackmer from Safety and Tech. He told me so much my whole family has a headache.
I’m going home to Centreville now, to watch some Nick at Night and pop some popcorn. I’m going to put the briefcase away for the night but I’ll keep the cell phone on in case you need me. The volume of paperwork on my desk mandates that I come in tomorrow to work through some of it, but that’s OK because Jill has to work anyway.
This was a very long and trying week, but I’m very confident in our Executive Board and excited about the challenges we are going to face together. We continue to build our union, and we continue to build coalitions for mutual aid. I’m in the process of making some selections for part-time and full time positions here in Washington, and I hope to make those public sometime around the 27th.
Before I write again you’ll all have an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know sometimes with shiftwork it’s tough, but I hope you can find some time to share the season with someone special. I wish each and every one of you a safe week, whether you’re flying somewhere to see loved ones, or working those who are.