<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Vice Presidential Update for February 16, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> February 16, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

Brothers and Sisters,

Monday morning began with the usual inbox of vouchers, press clippings and miscellaneous requests. The routine was broken when Martin Cole called to say he was on his way over for our meeting with ARINC and did I want him to pick up a coffee? Once again I am reminded of the thoughtfulness of our members. The ARINC meeting was an update on CPDLC and a chance for the team to tell me how productive and helpful the ZMA controllers have been in testing. Did they expect anything less? They also assured me that they understood ZMA's winter scheduling restrictions when it came to training.

Scott Keller and Ray Ellison came for a scheduled meeting with me on PFAST. It is a complicated issue because the tool has potential, but we need to overcome some limitations. In order to get at the source of the problems, the controllers have to use it. Scott and Ray presented a plan that I fully support and I briefed Blackie and Wade on the meeting later in the week. I tried to find time throughout the week to welcome all of the teams who were meeting at NATCA, but it seemed that every conference room was a buzz throughout the week. I also spent time taking care of dozens of little details in preparation for 3 back to back trips. BTW, unless I can get internet access while I am in Holland, my weekly update will be late next week.

The weekly NEB telcon brought in a myriad of issues, many of which are ongoing. John was in LA at the AFL-CIO executive Council meeting, so both the telcon and our continuous exchanges of information were uncharacteristically brief.

Jerry Whitaker and Larry Ihlene came in from Alaska for a meeting on CMP with AF-1 and what sounded like a cast of thousands. NATCA’s engineers are dealing with retaliation for union activities and Larry’s job has been threatened. Union animus in Alaska (or anywhere else) cannot be tolerated. Jerry Whitaker used his experience and influence to support his union brother, John Carr made it very clear that we will not tolerate AF abusing our brother any more than we would tolerate it from AT and the situation has improved for now, but we will continue to monitor it very closely. This situation speaks to one of the most basic tenets of unionism, “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

NATCA hosted the runway incursion JSIT and Dennis McGee gave me a thorough briefing on their work. Tom Farrier prepared a briefing document on the work of the CAST (Commercial Aviation Safety Team) where he represents NATCA and drew special attention to a “letter of commitment” they are advocating. All of our representatives have stated that they will not sign any statement that even appears to undermine out collective bargaining rights. Tom will ensure the CAST is fully aware of our position when they meet.

Tuesday morning was spent with the communications department – press releases, advertising strategy, annual report and the like. When I returned to my office there was a note on my chair to “see Joe and Ed in room 502.” I couldn’t stand the mystery, so I headed to the end off the hall to meet with Joe Kilgallen and Ed Mullin, they prepped me for the Runzhiemer’s meeting the next day and wanted to know if he FAA had told us who their contact person would be. They also explained in detail how the Runhiemer’s study was conducted, the methodology used and how long it took. Additionally, NATCA paid for the study last time and this time the cost will be split between the FAA and the CIP pool.

The Director’s meeting, which occurs every two weeks, allows each department to keep apprised of each other’s activities and identify areas where we can work together more effectively. I followed the meeting with lunch with the political director of the Laborer’s Union (LIUNA). After lunch, I joined Courtney Barron who was meeting with our new design firm. Tim Casten came in for a scheduled two o’clock to go over out web requirements and a rep from the design firm will be joining the communications committee meeting at the end of the month to ensure their needs are met. I am looking forward to a new web presence for NATCA in the near future.

For some reason, many people wanted to meet with me at the end of the day and I had a bakery line outside my office. I appreciate everyone’s patience and I am not a clock-watcher, so the office stayed open. Bob Taylor called to see if I would join the contract team for dinner. LR has a dozen contracts to negotiate, so there won’t be many weeks when he doesn’t have a team in town. I let him know I would be late, since I had to get some paperwork done before I could leave the office. Susan and I discussed the negotiations with a contract tower specialist for NATCA that the NEB requested. We also went over some of my concerns regarding the informal business relationship we have with our SQL contractor. Susan was already ahead of the game and was working on a contract to formalize the relationship.

The next morning, Ben Phelps, Adell Humphreys, Susan Grundmann and I met to review the proposed contract with our programmer, and to determine what our options are to make the current network more robust. Our internal network is too fragile to meet our needs. Ben is also going to look for a company to provide SQL support that is more flexible than our current provider.

My scheduled meeting with Runzheimer’s was very informative and lasted nearly two hours. Blackie, Dale Wade and I met on all things safety and tech until the last minute before I had to head to the airport to catch a DAL flight to FLL for the National Labor Management Conference (and to spend valentine’s day with my husband as an added bonus). The flight was cancelled due to low ceilings (see letter to Leo Mullin). I ran into Perry Doggerel our ARS-11 rep who also had a cancelled flight and we drove to BWI together where planes were departing.

The Labor Management conference offered some very useful information, including a comprehensive briefing on the new administration. The analyst brought up perspectives that are not being scrutinized by the mainstream but have serious implications for labor. He believes that the cabinet is basically benign, but the sub cabinet – the deputy secretaries, will be the ones to watch. He also talked about the influence of judges outside the supreme court and how they can have far more effect on organized labor than action by higher courts. The session also went over the potential outcomes of the midterm elections.

I flew back to Washington today and tomorrow it is a quick trip to New England than Sunday I will be heading to Maastrict for the ATC 2001 conference. The EGATS forum is “privatization blessing or curse.” I will be out of pager range for a week.

It is late, so I will call it a week.

In Solidarity,

Ruth Marlin

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