<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Vice Presidential Update for February 09, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************>February 09, 2001<!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Brothers and Sisters,

Another week has gone by and I am continually amazed, impressed and appreciative of the wealth of talent in our activists and staff.

Monday morning I met with Rich Ulmes for an update on his effort to implement the editorial response portion of the anti-privatization campaign. He and Doug Church have put together a strategy and it seems to be right on track. I had to tie up a few legal matters from the previous week as Susan Grundmann continued to bring me documents to sign. We have executed all of the contracts necessary to move the NATCA internet presence to our new ISP, Verio. I would like to than k everyone for their patience and the communications committee for doing all of the work. We should be completed with the transition at the end of the month. We also have a hotel contract for NATCA in Washington for the next two years.

John and I accompanied by the communications and legislative affairs departments went to a luncheon at the National Press Club to hear John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO speak. John was invited to join other union presidents and sat with Richard Trumpka, AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer. We returned to the office to catch up on some of the work that piled up during our lunch and to prepare for the NEB telcon. The board approved hiring Jose Ceballos as our new Policy Director, he has a great background and will start on February 26. They also approved a new LR specialist, who subsequently declined our offer. Adell Humphries and Donna Gunter made sure Jose has all of the information he needs to start his career with NATCA.

Tuesday Courtney Portner and I met with a new graphic design firm. The meeting lasted over two hours while we reviewed their portfolio and we discussed our requirements and the wide range of materials we produce. Our graphic needs range from the folders that we use for nearly every event, class, and new member packet to the one time recruiting poster. They not only had a strong portfolio and client list, they had great ideas for NATCA. I think we will be very happy with their work and it doesn’t hurt that they are about half the price of our former design house. Candi Derr joined us to brainstorm ideas for membership packets. Candi is always thinking about ways to improve our service to the members. She will be working with Courtney to put together a members reference guide to the national office. All of these new ideas will have to be worked into the production schedules, so they may take some time, but I am sure you will be pleased with the outcome. That afternoon I met with Lew Zietz to discuss the engineer’s recruitment drive and new membership items. Lew brings great ideas to the table and he will be launching a comprehensive membership recruitment campaign as well as offering new benefits this year that he is still in the process of negotiating.

It seems our little OE/OD MOU has caused quite a stir. I started the week quoted on the front page of USA Today and ended it in afternoon drive on NPR. The weekly press calls started with general interest in the MOU and questions about what it will do for the system, but by Thursday the NTSB had released a letter to Garvey that was overly harsh in its criticism (to put it nicely). I must have given at least 10 interviews to everyone from Business Technology week to the Wall Street Journal. My favorite was NPR because I got to hear it on the radio when I drove home. I spoke to Jane Garvey about the NTSB letter and the FAA was as surprised as we were since they took great pains to run the MOU by the NTSB before they signed it.

Wednesday morning, Christine Corcoran and I met with representatives from the AFL and the International Transport Workers Federation, the ITF. The ITF sent the section secretary and the head if their Civil Aviation ATC division. They are foursquarely opposed to ATC privatization in the world and they want to offer us their support as well as gain ours. In addition to their current campaign to influence the semi privatization of NATS (UK ATC), they are concerned that one company is working to merge several of the smaller nations corporatized ATC systems to create a large company with enough market dominance to swallow up the remaining countries in Europe. We had a long discussion about the differences between privatization, corporatization and commercialization and the strategies of their advocates. They also told us about their recent air rage campaign and their ability to support us in the international arena. I think the airlines would be shocked if their passengers started getting NATCA literature in Paris and London. They will be working with us to provide European aviation statistics.

I had a chance to speak with my old friend Donna Fitzgerald at MCO who was invited to an event with John Mica (R-FL) to talk about what aviation needs. Donna followed up with a post meeting e-mail this morning. Thanks for the quick communication!

Thursday it was more reporters as the NTSB letter hit the street and played phone tag with the FAA. I finally caught up with Jim Washington by cell phone and we worked out NATCA representation on a team to implement a grants program for non-fed systems. This program is a component of AIR-21 that I briefed the NEB on at convention. The agency has finally gotten the team assembled and almost started meeting without NATCA. That is fixed and Dale Wright has yet another duty. Speaking of Dale, he and a met a couple of times this week to talk about his local audits. We have a nimber of locals that are not in compliance with DOL regs and the DOL has made it very clear that we are 10 and 10 (ten years old, over $10M a year) which means we are no longer a small union and they are not willing to handle us with kid gloves anymore. Dale has an aggressive audit schedule this year, so if he comes to your local – remember that he is there to help. He has kept more than one Fac Rep out of trouble (if not jail).

I met with Frances Alsop from accounting to go over her requirements for a new jr. accountant to handle mostly NMI but also support the accounting department. The last person we offered the position to declined and this is the accounting busy season. I ended the day watching Bob Crandall on Fox news saying that US ATC should be privatized. Considering the report was about ZDC OE’s and our spokesman gave the outside the fence interview with no privatization questions, Crandall’s remarks were out of the blue.

Luckily, I had a meeting scheduled to meet with a team of researchers who we have solicited to produce a study on the effects of privatization. Unfortunately, Dick Swauger was ill and unable to attend the meeting, but Christine was able to join us. This team had spent the last two weeks reviewing our materials and had a through understanding of our needs. They will start work to determine the full scope, schedule and budget necessary for the reports we need. Elliott Sclar, and economist and professor at Columbia University will be the lead and he will be supported by HDR, a company with a great deal of experience in the field of privatization. We are looking for two reports, one that determines the real cost of the contract tower program and one that looks at both the cost and impact of full privatization. They will be working with our privatization team as the study moves forward. They have stated that they can complete the contract tower report in four months which will give us the information we need in time to battle the issue in the appropriations process. They estimate the full privatization study will take six months, but may change based on the quality and quantity of existing research.

If I forgot to mention it, I also paid a stack of NATCA’s bills, reviewed minutes, and all of the day-to-day work that is necessary to keep our union functioning. I ended the week talking to a representative from Southwest airlines about speaking at Lobby week and debating an issue with one of my favorite RVP’s.

All in all, it was another productive week. I can’t wait to see what next week holds. Thank you for letting me work for you.

In Solidarity,

Ruth Marlin


[Back] [Updates]