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|Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> November 24, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>|
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It’s that time again! I’ve got cold turkey sandwiches waiting on me when I get this posted, so forgive me if I fly through this week’s news, will ya?
This week’s update actually starts last Saturday, when I went in to the office for a half day of catch up. The previous week’s schedule had put me officially and hopelessly behind, so I worked on returning phone calls and emails. Driving in to work I noticed the memorials, and the leaves, and the trees, and it struck me that I usually pass them all silently under cover of darkness, both coming and going. It was unique to see them all by light of day, and I rolled down my windows to take in the fall smells.
I spoke at length with Ron Morgan on some pressing issues, and touched base with him to insure he knew our National Consolidation Representative, Steve Dye, would be attending a meeting on the proposed Boston Consolidated TRACON on Monday. The Communications Committee also caught me, and I helped them fix the conference call capability at the National Office so they could have their telcon on time.
I worked on my carryover list, which is how I keep track of issues which surface to my level. It’s not a full page right now, but those issues which are on it are very important to us all. Things like the Engineer’s contract, and the 3R’s, and consolidated pay rules, and the IPP/MPP/PCS dilemma, and retroactivity, and a few other topics you’re all well familiar with.
As I was walking out of the office at about four pm I suddenly realized two things: First, my “half day” is now eight hours, which is rather peculiar, don’t you think? And second, it occurred to me that exactly a week ago Ruth was making the very same walk, having spent the better part of her weekend getting ready for the NEB Budget Meeting!
Monday morning I went into the office early to study up for my interview at nine with NBC. I used the material Blackie had given me along with some background work Doug Church had done, and the interview went off fairly well. I didn’t feel all that comfortable, which is unusual, but both Doug and Courtney said it went OK. I trust them.
I spoke with Doug to check on the unfolding series in the Chicago Tribune on “A Day In The Life Of The System,” and also worked on a press release for Chicago in light of some unusual management quotes in the weekend paper.
I touched base with Joe Fruscella to add Don Ossinger to the Airspace MOU workgroup. For those of you with scorecards, that group now contains Mike McNally, Joe Fruscella, Mike Blake, Pat Forrey, and Don.
I joined Ruth in discussing budget issues and this years FacRep Training with our Director, Greg Llafet. We had a very productive discussion, and I’m very confident that this year’s training will be the best yet. Ruth even came up with a slogan which I love and plan to steal---”FacRep Training: It isn’t just for FacReps anymore.”
After pausing to reload on candy and coffee I welcomed Richard Jenderney and Bill Jeffers from ARINC to the office. Mike Connor from NARI joined us for a discussion of the oceanic product ARINC has up and running in Australia. This suite integrates VSCS and the Systems Atlanta database system into an oceanic work platform that integrates ADS-B, radar, GPS and other tools into a PVD display.
The reliability to date has been out to “seven 9’s” in terms of the automation, and according to ARINC they could have it up and running in a year.
ARINC also wanted us to know that they have no designs on gobbling up the air traffic control system, or on designing anything that would result in the eventual elimination of ground based air traffic control. They are in the business of providing ATC systems, and they’re up and running in several countries as we speak. I promised to give the technology a look, and to speak with our experts on the platform.
My next meeting was with Wally Pike, President of NAATS. Wally’s in the middle of contract talks with the Agency, and was seeking our support. I promised to evaluate anything he sent us, and to share it with the Executive Board in order to formulate NATCA’s position. NAATS represents 2300 union brothers and sisters, and it would be important for us to either support them, or at a minimum not actively oppose them. Wally and I committed to share information over the next several months in order to position our respective organizations.
We also discussed refreshing the Aviation Labor Coalition. For those of you with long memories, this front-room/back-room group staved off FAA Reform and the threats to Chapter 71. In light of the current political climate, we will be looking carefully at renewing this alliance between PASS, NAATS and NATCA.
I met with Steve Dye next to discuss some consolidation issues. Steve was in town and stopped by, and I encourage anyone who is in the same shoes to do just that. You may catch us in, you may not, but hey! It’s your building.
I met again with Ruth to discuss some National Office personnel issues, and then called it a day. I read the first two installments of the Tribune piece on the Metro riding home.
Tuesday I talked to Adell early on to brief her on the phone system hiccup, and then brainstormed some Christmas Card ideas with Ruth. We may be too late to do anything this year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.
I met with Dave Sandbach, Melinda Kim, Tim Haines and Bob Taylor to discuss pending LR and pay issues, and followed that up with a one-on-one with Bob to cover a whole host of individual issues at our level. We discussed the new nurses bargaining unit, reprinting the agreement, and the new National Guard controllers we represent in Hawai’i.
I spoke with Jane Garvey, and we agreed not to test compressed arrival procedures in Chicago until after the holidays. We also agreed to look into the communications breakdown which apparently gave rise to the weekend story.
I gave an extensive interview to the Federal Times, but the reporter is very, very new to the labor beat and even newer to the aviation beat, so we’ll see what unfolds. The story is supposed to appear in the year end issue.
I spoke with Phil Barbarello about the workgroup on PCS issues, and returned phone calls to Carol, Andy, Gretna, Ray, and Gary. I don’t think I missed any phone calls, but my email, like everyone elses, seems to have gone bonkers lately. I’ll be glad when we’ve resolved these problems, and I have a lot of confidence in the Communications Committee to do just that.
Whew! Is Tuesday over yet? No. Actually....it’s only about 1pm...time for my meeting with Karl Grundmann, former Western Pacific Region RVP, now working for NASA. Karl gave me a thorough briefing on all projects NASA is currently working on in our field, and it would take three hours and reams of paper to tell you all about them here. I hope when we get our website up and cruising we’ll be able to post these types of documents for your review.
The afternoon flew by, and it gave me a headache, to boot. When technology people think outside the box it really freaks me out. I would tell you it isn’t rocket science, but in this case...being NASA and all...I think it is.
Wednesday morning I worked on my liaison and tech rep assignments, and these are almost ready for prime time. I plan to present the NEB with my selections on Monday’s telcon, and I will contract the individuals the NEB approves shortly thereafter.
I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people who have volunteered to help. I know I run a great risk in asking you to serve, because with only ten positions to offer and two hundred hungry activists seeking them, I am sure to disappoint one hundred and ninety.
I hope you all will allow me to keep your expressions of interest for use in filling openings as they occur. We are a stronger union for having you, and there will always be new opportunities.
Wednesday afternoon I picked up Mrs. Bull, and one minor snowstorm later we were back home, in Ohio.
Yesterday, Thursday, was Thanksgiving. It was truly probably my first “real” day off since taking office. One with no calls, no pages, nothing.
Today? I did some phone work, returned some email, and worked on my position assignments. I also did the domestic thing...you know...washed the car, changed the oil, paid the bills.
Well, my leftovers are calling me. I hope the holiday treated you all well. I know I had a lot to be thankful for this year. Good health, friendship, family, and a growing, vibrant union. I know many of you had to work the holiday, and I’d like to personally thank you for your dedication and sacrifice.
It isn’t easy doing what we do, even on a good day. On holidays, it tends to be a little tougher. Not the work, mind you, but the odd hours and the separation from our loved ones.
So if nobody bothered to tell you yet, thanks for working on Thanksgiving. Thanks for getting everybody where they wanted to be, safely. Thanks for being there when your country called. You’re the best.