<!----Enter Date Bellow *************> Weekly Regional Update for January 12, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow *************> January 12, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

Sisters and brothers...

I would like to start with some sad news... I just learned today that our brother Mike Wehrman's father passed away after an extended battle with cancer. Mike has continues to serve our family with hard work and dedication all the time, most recently at ZID dealing with NAR. At the time of this update, I have not received any information on funeral arrangements. If anyone does, please forward them to me so that I can post it. My sympathies go to Mike and his family...

On another note, Ron Oberg has decided to step down as one of our third level advocates. After much contemplation, Ron has decided that it's time to devote more of his interests to family. Thankfully, Ron will be staying on as one of our regional OWCP gurus, and other less demanding duties. Ron has been a great service to our regional members, and I'm sure, will continue in the future; we can't afford to lose his experience and commitment to the membership. Thanks Ron for all you've done for me and our brothers and sisters!

Another busy week, so let's start with some regional issues...

The issue of forcing BUE's to use accrued comp time has reared its ugly head again, most recently in the Dakotas. BUE's have been told that they must schedule any accrued comp time to use in this leave year, or management will schedule it. If it is not used, they will lose it. This is bogus information... I have notified the RO that this is inconsistent with the CBA, federal regulation and law.

As you know, the FAA raised this issue at the negotiation table back in 1998 and subsequently dropped the issue. As such, the FLRA views this as covered by the negotiated agreement. Case law states that a party to negotiations cannot propose an issue, drop the issue in the course of negotiations, and then raise it again under mid term bargaining after the agreement was signed. Second, the agency is applying the wrong section of the CFR's to BUE's; section 5 CFR 551.531 states in part:

(d) The head of an agency may fix time limits for an employee to request and take compensatory time off under this section. If compensatory time off is not requested or taken within the established time limits, the employee must be paid for overtime work at the overtime rate in effect for the work period in which it was earned under this subpart.

(e) The dollar value of compensatory time off when it is liquidated, or for the purpose of applying pay limitations, is the amount of overtime pay the employee otherwise would have received for the hours of the pay period during which compensatory time off was earned by performing overtime work.

So even if the Union decided to negotiate this issue, to change the past practice, the agency would be relegated by law to these provisions. Hopefully, I will be able to straighten this out by next week.

Another hot topic centers around the assignment of hold over OT. Again, (must be in the water) facilities in the Dakotas primarily the part time facilities with AWS schedules have been told that they are not entitled to the full two hours of OT if the facility closes before they have worked the full two hours. Furthermore, management claims that if a BUE is on a 9 hour shift (AWS) they can only earn 1 hour hold over OT.

NATCA's position is different; the CBA is quite explicit concerning hold over OT. BUE's shall be guaranteed 2 hours of work (hold over OT). That means if the facility closes, the BUE shall be entitled to perform administrative duties for the remainder of the 2 hours; just because the facility closes is no reason to stop working... If the BUE doesn't choose to stay, then he/she would only be entitled to the OT actually worked. The same goes for a BUE on a 9 hour shift. If management holds the individual over, he/she is entitled to 2 hours of work. Again, once the BUE reaches 10 hours on position, he/she must perform other non-operational duties for the second hour, or choose to go home and receive OT for the actual time worked.

Both of these issues have been raised at the regional level, however, if your being instructed to comply with the agency's latest determination, file the grievance to protect your time limits.

I have been asked questions from the field on the regulations associated with hours of work when mixed with operational and non-operational duties. When you are posed with the question about whether or not a BUE can work more than 10 hours on a shift or the period of time between shifts, look to 14 CFR Chapter 1, 65.47 (maximum hours), FAAO 7210.3 and the CBA. The 7210.3 states that a controller assigned to a position of operation must not work more than a10-hour day. The CBA states that whenever the term "days" is used in the agreement it shall mean calendar days. 14 CFR states that an air traffic controller may not serve or be required to serve - (a) for more than 10 consecutive hours; or (b) for more than 10 hours during a period of 24 consecutive hours (day), unless he/she has had a rest period of at least 8 hours at or before the end of the 10 hours of duty.

The agency has established in the 7210.3 that the 10-hour assignment is a 10 hour operational assignment. So long as the BUE has had at least an 8 hour off duty period between watches. So it is possible to work more than 10 consecutive hours, as long as a BUE is not assigned to an operational position for more than 10 hours, and he/she will have at least an 8 hour off duty period between shifts.

If you haven't noticed, the RO is questioning facility managers on the amount of CIC pay being used at each facility. I posed this question to the RO. Their answer was to review how well the managers are managing the operational supervisors. The RO expects to receive rational explanations as to extreme spikes in CIC pay to ensure that the ops sups are in the operation and able to complete other duties they are responsible for. I assume that a high amount of CIC pay means that there are few ops sups, the ops sups are on vacation, or the ATM isn't managing the ops sups very efficiently...

Congressman Wolf has introduced legislation to establish an independent commission to review the FAA (HR 5641). The proposed commission would focus on the need to improve aviation safety and to reduce delays. It would examine both air traffic services and safety oversight by FAA, and be expected to make recommendations on both the organizational structure and processes of the agency. The commission is to be appointed by the President and include representatives from the airlines, airports, employee unions, pilots and federal government. Our legislative department will have more information out concerning the specifics of the proposed bill.

On January 10, several representatives of the Union and the agency met in DC to discuss the A7 proposal concerning the implementation of new en route sectors. Most of these additions will be at centers in the NGL. The major stumbling blocks to the completion of this initiative will be in the staffing, training, immunity and priority of implementation arenas. The Union's position is that none of the proposed sectors can be implemented until agreement on the above issues have been finalized.

This is an uncomfortable position since these sectors are being designed to address several of the choke point problems associated with system congestion, complexity and delays. It is a very important issue to the users of the system and the work force. However, the agency has already agreed to nationally negotiate the staffing issues prior to the implementation of changes and modifications with regards to national airspace redesign. Further, at some point the agency must provide the resources for the work force to operate the additional positions. I believe this issue will move at a rapid pace in preparation with Spring 2001.

And concerning the PCS/IPP MOU, there has been some communication between the parties concerning the simplification of administering medical clearances. The parties have a tentative arrangement to meet next week, but nothing has been finalized as of this update.

Finally, there are a number of A48 and Liaison positions opening up:

National Airspace System Infrastructure Sustainment Shortfall 2001 Project - part time
ARU Tech Rep - part time
Local Area Augmentation System program - full time
En Route Surveillance Product Team-Integrated Gulf of Mexico Team - part time
National Airspace System Resources (NASR) Integrated Requirements Team - part time
Surveillance Protocol Converter Integrated Requirements Team - part time
Air Traffic Satellite Navigation Operational Implementation Team (ATSOIT) - part time / TMC

Anyone with an interest to get involved, please email me or John Carr with your request.

'Till next week...


Pat

P.s. One final note, Nancy Shelton begins as AGL 501 on Tuesday; welcome!

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