<!----Enter Date Bellow *************> Weekly Update for February 02, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow *************>February 02, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

Sisters and brothers...

3rd Level Advocate Meeting - Friday ends this week with some very disappointing results from the 3rd level advocate meeting. It appears that the management team did not come to resolve grievances, rather to uphold positions that are either incorrect, flawed or at best, questionable. It amazes me that the RO 540 specialists haven't gotten it... this process was intended to resolve long standing issues, not set precedent. In many instances, there were mistakes made by both parties (at the local level), and those issues could be easily resolved to the benefit of both parties. Unfortunately, this weeks management team didn't see it that way.

I have told Chris and Nancy that we need to reevaluate the process. Either they are committed to resolving these issues or they are going to stand on their heels. As far as I'm concerned, it works both ways, and not just in the grievance process... I believe that Chris does want to cleanup these issues at an intermediate level. My time is as valuable as his, and doing 3rd level grievances exclusively between us will detract from other initiatives that are brewing.

Trust me, I am as frustrated as everyone else when it comes to the time delay involved in the grievance process. Attached is a truncated version of the status of the grievances that were on the list for the meeting this week. it looks like Chris and I have our work cut out for us. Chris, Nancy, George and I will be having a conversation about this process next week; more on that later...

Article 9 ADR - I'll be in Chicago on Monday with all of the 3rd level advocates to receive a briefing on Article 9 Alternate Dispute Resolution. This process involves a third party neutral (arbitrator) that will listen to both parties present several grievances and make a decision/recommendation on which side is correct. This is very similar to a full blown arbitration except for two main points: the parties present their side of the case in a condensed manner, and the arbitrator makes a decision immediately following the presentations. In this process, several different grievances can be heard in the same day (very similar to private industry process). Second, either party can accept the decision or take the grievance to full blown arbitration.

The point of the process is to get a 3rd party determination, which should give the Union and management a strong indication of what a full blown arbitration will result in. The reason that NATCA and the agency agreed to this process was to resolve more grievances in a shorter time frame, and reduce the cost in scheduling and conducting a full blown arbitration. This process has been piloted in two other regions, and has worked quite well. The intention is to get the process up and running in every region. I am hopeful that this process will help with the 3rd level review and gain timelier resolution to all grievances.

S2K+1 - Next Tuesday kicks off the first Spring 2001 briefings around the country in Chicago. Although I haven't yet been briefed on the specifics, the training will be conducted all day (8 hours) over three days at each Center, and two days at Detroit TRACON. The training is designed to inform all levels of the facility what's involved with the Spring 2001 initiative. It will get specific on the programs that the command center and each TMU unit will be deploying in an effort to minimize delays. I It will also talk about what efforts are being taken to inform the controller work force as to the situations impacting the system, so that information feedback from the work force can be relayed to the users and the TMU.

The training is mandatory for TMC's, ops sups and managers, and recommended for BUE's. I encourage all BUE's to receive the training and provide important feedback in order to involve ourselves, the experts, in the management of the system. This would be a good opportunity for members to earn credit hours if they so choose, and provide input and recommendations as to what is needed to move the traffic. I will make it to each of the facilities when they conduct the briefings, with the exception of ZMP (due to S2K+1 meeting with HQ).

PCS/IPP MOU - Well, here we go again... The latest information I received on the final resolution to this issue is that they hoped to have an agreement by Thursday night. By Friday afternoon, they didn't have an agreement. However, I believe the MOU will be signed by Tuesday next week. It has come down to one or two issues, but I believe that they are not insurmountable and an agreement can be made. As for the details, well I'm as in the dark as you are... as I have stated in previous updates, it concerns the selection/non selection of BUE's and a centralized clearinghouse for all IPP's, PCS, etc. We all know how parochial each region is, and a centralized process threatens their autonomy. In any event, as soon as I hear something, I'll put out a blast...

NAR MOU - To date, the NAR MOU has stalled at the national level. On Thursday January 25, John Carr asked Mike McNally to step aside while John took the issue. If you remember, the major hold up dealt with save pay provisions for developmentals in the event of a facility down grade. The agency doesn't believe that developmentals should have their pay saved like the other controllers in the building. Well, that's a show stopper for us. I do know that John is working the issue, and as these MOU's all begin to bottleneck up, I expect the dam will break shortly...

Staffing - As I stated last week, I will be participating in a meeting with the agency on February 15 to discuss the development of a staffing standard for the controller BU. The agency has preliminary intentions of hiring 600 BUE's this fiscal year in order to account for attrition and to meet the 15,300 number as prescribed in our MOU. In a discussion with the Administrator last week, she stated that the hiring freeze notice from the new Administration is standard practice. whether or not that is the President's intention is yet to be seen.

My intentions are to gain agreement on an objective standard, regardless of the total numbers of BUE's agreed to in the MOU. Once that has been implemented and staffing levels for all facilities have been identified, a method of across the board percentages of the identified staffing number would have to be distributed to remain within the 15,300 cap. As I said, this is my idea, and not necessarily the intentions of the other RVP's I'll be working with. I'm certain that we will have some discussions on this...

Ohio Consolidation - For our Ohio terminal brothers and sisters, rumor has it that a consolidation effort is in the works for the TRACON's. I had a discussion with Nancy Shelton yesterday concerning this rumor, and she said she was unaware of any such movement. I filled her in on some information that I have received from our ZOB Local. Apparently, the AF manager at ZOB is putting together justification to purchase a large manufacturing plant next to the center. His intentions appear to be in gaining more space for offices and storage, and to move all administrative functions and the Ohio SMO into this building. To sweeten the prospect, he believes that by relocating and consolidating the Ohio TRACON's into the structure, it will convince the agency to buy the building; he believes the purchase and rehab will be much less expensive than providing new facilities at each of the towers.

I told Nancy that I have not seen the proposal, but if it did exist, NATCA would oppose the initiative. I'm certain that our Congressional representatives will have a problem with such a loss to local revenues... The real bottom line is that AF continually wants more space, for what I can't imagine. In any event, I will keep you informed.

GAO Assignment - As you may have read in Ruth's update, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has been assigned to review the staffing and attrition rate of air traffic controllers. They have been working with our national office, and I assume the agency, to determine whether the FAA will have sufficient number of air traffic controllers and air traffic controller candidates to meet its short and long term staffing needs. The estimated completion date is November 30, 2001. The GAO will conduct the assignment at NATCA HQ, various ATC facilities, and universities conducting controller training.

Legislation - Our national legislative department is developing justification and cost data for determining a legislative fix for our members who are caught in the age 56 with less than 20 years good time trap. It appears that there are roughly 100 to 200 members who will not have 20 years good time when they reach age 56. Congress had addressed this issue with the implementation of FERS, and we will be asking them to move legislation to fix the few that have no recourse. My experience has been that the agency and/or the DOT Secretary have not given waivers for employees in this predicament. With Mr. Pinetta in place, it is uncertain whether or not that policy will change.

Enough for now... I will be in Chicago on Monday, Cleveland on Tuesday, Chicago again on Wednesday and Thursday, and back to Cleveland on Friday. If you need to contact me, page me or give me a buzz on my cell phone 440-725-9059. Hope everyone had a safe and productive week...


3rd Level Review 01/30/01

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