April 13, 2001

Another week has gone by, I have finished my taxes and it is time for an update.

The National Office is closed today in observance of Good Friday for those who celebrate Easter and to avoid any bad Friday the 13th mojo for those who don’t. I discovered that these “short weeks” just make you work longer days so it all balances out. I would say that I saved a commute, but I am in the office anyway.

Monday was a typical paperwork day. NATCA’s end of year audit is over and the filings are due so the day started with reviewing drafts, talking to Dale about locals who have not filled their reports to DoL or affidavits with us. Jose, Dick and I met to go over putting together a comprehensive anti-privatization checklist which started with documenting all of the activities we currently have going on, status reports and looking for anything we need to focus more on. It took over an hour just to delineate all of the current activities. Once we get complete the checklist, I am sure we will find regional activities that we missed. I also spent the afternoon preparing a presentation for Tuesday’s staff meeting and going over my issues for the director’s meeting.

Tuesday was packed with meetings. After taking care of the things that magically appear in my inbox throughout the day, we had the Director’s meeting followed by the staff meeting. I got tagged with doing a presentation for the staff on the new personnel evaluation system that the director’s were trained on last week. I also saw a need to reinforce some basics including non-exempt employee’s right to O/T under FLSA and more importantly that they should be allowed to go home when their shift is over.

There were a few questions including how the evaluations relate to salaries and if the re is an appeals process. The appeals process is still being developed since there is nothing to appeal yet and I think we should get input from the staff about what it should be before we set anything in stone. Everyone now has a position description and it will be reviewed along with department goals with each director.

Meanwhile we had the NEB tel con in progress and John and I were having to hand off to each other so that we could each be available to both the staff and the NEB. After a couple hours John had to take a meeting with ATA which he pulled me into when the tel con was over. We talked about controller staffing first and foremost with a side order of attrition. ATA has already called for hiring 1,000 controllers this year and since we will all be called before Congress to report on our 5 things to improve the system, it is important that ATA stick with us on hiring more controllers.

My next meeting was with Elliott Sclar and HDR who are researching the cost of contracting out towers followed up by the economic risks of ATC privatization. Courtney, Jose, Christine, Doug and Dick all brought their materials and expertise to the meeting. We have a fantastic team working for us on this issue as well as the rest of the staff, if you ever get to DC take some time to come by the office and meet the people who are working so hard for you.

Wednesday we got a barrage of press calls about the President’s budget. Since it fully funded AIR 21 and didn’t have any thing new for us since the initial proposal there was not a lot to say. However, one reporter I talked to was new to the beat and wanted to talk to NATCA about well, everything. Doug will be calling her back about how to set up a facility visit and I invited her to NATCA to talk learn about everything we are doing. This is a priceless opportunity to build a rapport with a reporter who will have an in depth understanding of our field and know that NATCA is the expert to call.

I met with Martin Cole to go over all things Datalink and more importantly to review the latest training video. Martin, Melinda, Courtney and I reviewed the video and there are a few changes that need to be made before NATCA can be used in the video. Martin took the review back and the project lead is meeting with Courtney next week to work on some editing. We are more than happy to help make it a better product, not just for LR reason, but because you will have to sit through it. At least it will be shorter when we are done. I talked to several members who were in town for the Radar Tower Advisory Committee and talked to Leslie Warfield, the chairperson, about where the committee was going and the work they had done on the charter with Mike Blake.

Thursday came pretty quickly and while working on the never empty inbox (apparently we get mail 5 times a day), John pulled me into a meeting he was having with a Gentleman who evaluates staffing standards, retirement projections and productivity measures, just in case we may need some of that talent someday. I had to step out for my next meeting which was with the Provost of the National Labor College. He gave a brief overview of the process of setting up the NATCA Leadership Academy which would allow us to have our training evaluated for college credit and could serve as up to half of the residency requirement for getting a BA in Labor Administration and Leadership. John was able to join us as soon as he finished with his other meeting and the College will prepare a full proposal for us. There are a few steps we would have to complete to get the course evaluated and our instructors certified to meet the Labor College’s accreditation requirements. Also the college will develop a template that will show how many credits other training is worth, like FAA licenses that can be used as transfer credits. The Labor College is a completion school and is intended for people who have completed 2 years of college or can demonstrate equivalent college level learning. For example, I think my controller certificate was worth between 30-40 credits through ACE. The best news was that once our classes are evaluated for credit, anyone who has taken them in the last 5 years can apply for credit with the National Labor College.

John, Courtney, Doug, Jose and I met with Hill and Knowlton about editorial boards, speaking engagements and whether our message is still getting the attention we need or do we need to pivot a little. There are so many different issues we can introduce into the debate and since John now has everyone including the President of the United States saying build new runways, it may be time for us to bring in more.

I had a number of other impromptu meetings and joined the Radar Tower Advisory Committee in the afternoon. Luckily, I was in need of a controller at an ATC 7-9 facility who could talk to our researchers about the operation of a tower in terms that would help them capture the costs that don’t show up on a contract. I found one. We had a good discussion about how the committee could help further NATCA’s goals and the evolution of the work they are doing. I look forward to hearing more from them.

In addition, I spoke to Jim D’Agati ever so briefly, called scads of people, met with Katie on scheduling, Adell on recognition, Lew on Unum, Ken on the CSRS retirement issues, Christine on NATCA in Washington, Shari on FLSA, Courtney on position descriptions, Courtney, Ken, John, and Christine on Lobby Week name tags, Jose on an aviation summit, Fran on dues rebates, Doug on media training, Blackie on WAAS and S&T staffing, Mike D. on a research contract, Claudia on schedules, Candi on 1188’s, and John on everything.

See you next week.

In Solidarity,

Ruth



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