<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Update for December 1, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> December 1, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

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Brothers and Sisters,

Another week has come to an end. Sunday gave me the opportunity to meet with the Legislative Committee at their quarterly meeting in Miami. We talked about a number of issues including how to improve the working relationship between the committee and the Legislative Affairs Department. The new Congress brings with it a great deal of uncertainty and I believe NATCA will face difficult challenges on a number of issues. The pressure for full-scale privatization is building in the industry and in the global community. NATCA will need to be more unified than ever if we are to be successful in the coming year.

On Monday and Tuesday, I accompanied Robert Dumphries, the IFATCA EVP Americas to the first meeting of the ICAO Air Safety Board along with Jeff Baker, a NATCA Air Safety Investigator from MIA. The Board was established for the GREPECAS region, which is a French Acronym for the board that covers the Central and South Americas and the Carribean. The Air Safety Board is an avenue for nations and interested parties, like IFATCA, IFALPA and IATA, to gain international attention and help find solutions for urgent safety problems. I learned that ICAO moves far slower than the FAA and that an “urgent” safety problem is one that can be addressed within 5 years.

Most of the issues were brought forward by the nation where it exists or by the airlines. There were no controller issues in the first list. We are working to develop a form and process to encourage controller associations to submit issues through IFATCA. This board will be useful for issues that cut across nations, including US issues with the islands and Mexico. While their solutions may come at a snails pace, we can use the fact that ICAO identifies the problems as urgent safety issues as we pursue other means. Jeff Baker has volunteered to take on the task of developing the form and instructions.

Wednesday morning and I was back in DC where John and I briefed each other and I learned how tall a pile of papers can get as still be considered as “in” in the inbox. John and I finalized our thoughts on hiring a Policy Director for NATCA and tasked Hill and Knowlton with doing some headhunting for us. The Policy Director will work directly under John and I in the Executive office and as a peer to the Director of Legislative Affairs and the Director of Communications. The functions of the job will focus on the policy issues as they are brewing. He or she will be responsible for identifying our allies in battles like privatization and contracting and working to form alliances. Also he/she will help to tie all of our efforts together in more of a big picture sense. To make an analogy, much of our effort is like filling sand bags to protect the house while the flood waters are rising, the Policy director will be digging canals to divert the water now and in the future.

I also met with representatives from MITRE CAASD on their NAS evaluation. They are working on breaking down the sources of delays and showing the chain of events that lead to system wide problems. They have broken the issue into 4 major categories: Airport Congestion, Airport Weather, En Route Congestion and En Route weather. Their briefing demonstrates how they are inextricably linked. The best illustration they, used showed how over scheduling LGA by 5 ac/hr leads to en route holding further and further back and eventually interfering with the ability to get ORD departures out. They used 2 other illustrations, to show the systemic impact of localized events. One was fog in SFO and the other was severe en route wx. The most important part of their presentation was to show airlines that they cannot simply look at specific flights of specific airports when analyzing the source of delays and proposing solutions. They continued to stress that there is no magic bullet to solve the delay problem. They will present the information at an Industry Day event on December 7th.

Then I joined Barry Krasner and Eddie Echard to discuss funding options for NMI and restructuring the mortgage, which is currently a floating rate on a 10 year note amortized over 20 years with a balloon payment at year 10. We also talked about zero based budgeting which would ensure a consistent amount of money would go into the benefits fund.

On Thursday, I ordered myself to stay in the office until the inbox was empty. The only real challenge was that more things go in the inbox as soon as I take some out. Barry reminded me that the elevator stops on the other floors and I took some time to talk to some of our staff in their offices rather than wait for them to come to me.

I met with Susan on a series of issues and talked to Tim Casten, the Communications Committee chairman about the committee recommendations for our future internet and e-mail service. He faxed over a proposal, which is being reviewed by general counsel. I spoke to Andy Banks at the Meany center about privatization and putting together academic research to support our position in the privatization fight. He is setting up a meeting between John and I and the ITF (International Transport workers Federation). They have a great deal of experience with this kind of battle and are building their aviation efforts. As it turns out, they have talked to IFATCA and were looking for someone to set up a meeting with NATCA. When Andy contacted them for us, they asked him if he could arrange an introduction for them. Nice to know the people you are looking for are also looking for you.

Bob Howard and some of the OSHA team came by late and I got a chance to tell John Kennedy what to expect when he come to DC as a new full time article 48 rep.

Today started early so John and I could sign the Christmas cards for NATCA’s employees so they could be handed out today with the Christmas bonuses. John had Engineers pay negotiations at 9 so we had to be done by then. I talked to Steve Lenertz about a PRM issue, called Jerry McArthur about some events around the F-16 crash and got a copy of the retraction put out by AP for reporting that controllers had put the planes (VFR) on a “collision course.” Doug Church is pushing the outlets that published the story to also print the retraction.

John emerged from the Engineers negotiations an hour ahead of schedule, which gave us just enough time to go around the building together to distribute Christmas bonuses and remind our staff how grateful the union is for their hard work and dedication to our members. Unfortunately, it was lunch time so there are a few that we will have to catch up with on Monday.

At 1:00 John and I had a meeting with Ken Montoya and Sherrod Shim to go over the H & K advocacy plan for the next 6 months. We briefed them on the Policy Director position and how we see the new position fitting into our organizational structure. The most important part of the strategy is how we will work as a team. We will be setting up a schedule of strategy meetings so we will keep track of the work that is being done on common issues, but in different departments. One of the major changes in the budget this year was to create a category for major initiatives that cut across several departments. This will allow NATCA to track the real cost of an effort and eliminate the wrangling that occurs when everyone is working an issue but no one wants it to come out of their budget.

After taking care of several odds and ends, I signed a big pile of checks so we could get reimbursements out to our activists before the weekend. Then it was time to call it a week.

In Solidarity,

Ruth Marlin <!----End Text Field **************>

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