<!----Enter Date Bellow *************> Weekly Update for March 30, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow *************>March 30, 2001 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

Sisters and brothers...
Monday starts the open season for NATCA members only long term disability (LTD) insurance.  The period for signing up without subject to a medical physical will end on April 18, 2001.  LTD insurance is a must for most of our work force since we earn fairly good wages, and employment opportunities for staff positions are dwindling away.  The insurance kicks in 120 days after you lose your medical, paying 50% of your gross income, but not more than $5000 per month.  And even if you have a pre existing condition, the plan will kick in after 24 months paying the same benefit.  Further, the plan pays even if you are medically retired, or find other employment (prorated benefit). This is a reasonably priced policy for all of us!  I encourage you to review the material that was mailed to you and your members, and contact the toll free number to speak with a representative from Unum to answer any questions... I plan to sign up this week.
The NEB met this past week in Las Vegas, and the agenda was quite extensive; here are a few highlights...
PCS/IPP MOU - The agency has selected 60 candidates for PCS, with approximately another 40 and some 3R commitments to complete.  Once we get the rest of this years moves in writing at a meeting we have scheduled for next week we will free up unlimited unpaid moves for the rest of this FY.  NGL will receive 12 PCS moves from the first 60; the remaining 40 have not yet been determined.
Training Failure/Withdrawal MOU - The MOU needs a little more work, more along the lines of where these BUE's will be sent once they are taken out of the training program.  Many of the RVP's do not want an MOU that guarantees that the employee will be allowed to return back to their previous facility if it is already at the authorized staffing, especially if there are other facilities that are under staffed.  More on this next week.
Facility Local Financial Audits - The Department of Labor has informed NATCA that they no longer qualify as a "small Union" and that any infractions to financial regulations will place elected officials and the Union in dire straights.  The NATCA finance committee is conducting audits at several locals, not as a punitive measure, but as an aide to helping local's comply with government regulations.  If any Local in the NGL has questions or concerns about the book keeping, please contact Dale Wright or Drew Frankel (NGL Finance Committee), or me.  We will be able to get your books on the up and up.
TMC Overtime - The question was asked concerning whether or not TMC's are to be considered for OT for operational overtime.  Specifically, do TMC's fit on the OT list in the operational areas... the consensus of the NEB is that TMC's perform separate duties, operate under different schedules, select annual leave apart from operational controllers, and therefore, should not be considered on the operational OT list.  Several facilities have agreed to using TMC's for operational overtime, but only after the controller OT list has been exhausted (can't get a BUE to work).
FAM Order - It has been identified that a problem exists in the new FAM order, namely Appendix A and B.  In short, these appendices incorporate Flight Standard restrictions on physical abilities, that are more restrictive than what the airlines require.  In essence, the new order would preclude some of our BUE's from FAMing.  The National Office will be taking another look at this issue and attempt to rectify it.
Operational Error Severity Index - A joint work team is developing the next phase of decriminalizing operational errors.  This past week, GENOT 7210.508 went out requiring facilities to send information to headquarters when an operational error occurs.  The work Team will be reviewing this data to validate some of the measurements they are looking at in determining the severity of all operational errors.  The work team is also looking to eliminate decertifications and incorporating peer training.  If you have any suggestions, email me or one of the team members: Dave Sandbach, Phil Barberello, Bryan Zilonis, Mike Blake.
Compensatory Time - The agency (AGL-500) has given formal notification to me that they intend to change the current, long standing practice of comp time usage.  They are requesting to comply with FAAO 3550, whereby BUE's would be required to use any accrued comp time as soon as possible.  I have notified the Region in writing that the Union does not have an obligation to bargain over this subject, since the issue is covered by the CBA and that the practice was not identified as a violation of the CBA when the past practice/MOU MOU was implemented.  If your manager is requiring any BUE to use accrued comp time, or changes another approved leave to comp time, file the grievance immediately.  More on this later...
Legislative Updates courtesy of Christine Corcoran:
OPM is expected to outline its initial proposal for LTC for the 13 million federal employees, retirees and eligible family members this week.  OPM is contracting with insurance companies and LTC insurance should be available by October 2002.

President Bush announced his intention to nominate Kay Cole James to be director of the Office of Personnel Management.  She is currently a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  This position requires Senate confirmation.

Census Bureau recommended, and Commerce Secretary Evans agreed, against adjusting the 2000 numbers to account for groups that are missed by traditional head counts.  These numbers are used to redraw congressional districts and allocate billions of dollars in federal funds.  Estimates indicate that at least 3.3 million people were missed in the 2000 Census.

Over the past 4 years, health insurance costs for federal employees have increased by about 37 percent.  The House Government Reform Committee is looking at a proposal whereby employees will be given a fixed amount of money annually to spend on health care and other benefits.   These type of cafeteria style plans allow employers to contain costs.  The federal government spends almost $15 billion for the 9 million federal employees in FEHBP.

House Budget Committee marked up and reported their FY2002 Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 83) on a party line vote.  The budget blueprint follows President Bush's call for a $1.62 trillion tax cut package, reserves $5.6 trillion surplus to pay off the national debt, sets FY2002 discretionary spending at $600.6 billion, and calls for 5 reconciliation bills.  The measure will be taken up on the House Floor today with a final vote on Wednesday.  The Senate is scheduled to consider its budget resolution the first week in April. Chairman Domenici has indicated that he may bypass the Committee process and bring a budget resolution straight to the Floor.

The House FY2002 Budget Resolution contains language ensuring that federal employees and military personnel receive the same pay raise.  President Bush propose a 4.6 pay increase for the military while OMB was told to use 3.6 percent for civilian employees.  The House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on FAA funding/issues on March 28.

The Senate is currently debating the McCain-Feingold bill (S. 27) that would ban soft money contributions to political parties and restrict broadcast ads sponsored by a corporation/union that refer to a federal candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days before a primary.  An amendment by Paul Wellstone to include issue advocacy groups under the advertising limits was adopted 51 to 46.  An amendment offered by Orrin Hatch to require unions and corporations to get permission from their members/shareholders prior to spending money on behalf of political candidates was tabled by a vote of 69 to 31.

The House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY2002 FAA budget on March 28.  The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on Transportation Congestion in the U.S. on April 4.  The Senate Commerce Aviation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Airline Delay Prevention on March 29.  Subcommittee Chairwoman plans to introduce
the Aviation Delay Prevention Act this week.

The 2000 FAIR inventories listed about 850,000 jobs are commercial in nature.  As a candidate, President Bush proposed to reduce federal
management ranks by 40,000, to contract 450,000 federal jobs to the private sector and to mandate A-76 competitions for half of the positions listed on the FAIR inventories.  OMB recently ordered agencies to open up at least five percent of the FAIR list jobs to contractor competition.

Labor Relations Update courtesy of Bob Taylor:
The National Arbitration on assigning CIC during mid-shifts at Centers is pending a decision from the arbitrator.

Stoves:  The agency wants to remove stoves from those towers with a single means of egress, we disagree, we are at Impasse.    With our knowledge, the agency has made no attempts to pursue this matter further.

PATCO 5% Differential:  Our best argument is disparate treatment. We are moving forward to arbitration.

Dues:  Agency is taking the position that employees may withdraw as a member on their anniversary, we disagree, WP Region filed a grievance, we are moving forward to arbitration.   Mike Hull and Susan Grundman are the Leads.

CTO Certificate Revocation:   We have been working with the agency to resolve this issue which may be encompassed by the recent MOU that addressed immunity, OE/OD, etc.  Arbitration pending.  Mike Doherty is the Lead.

Night Differential:  We have consolidated a number of local issues into one National Grievance, we are moving forward for arbitration  Melinda Kim is the Lead.

Use of Comp Time vs. Annual Leave:  Filed a National Grievance on this issue and we are moving forward to arbitration.  Mike Doherty is the Lead.  Eastern Region has been requested to move forward on this same issue in arbitration, as well.

FSIP Smoking Order Enforcement:   The issue is those facilities where a city ordinance has a no smoking policy, we are going to arbitration.  Lorri Hayes is the Lead.

Article 99:  Filing a National Grievance that training is not an operational requirement/necessity and if so, then what sort of training constitutes
operational requirement/necessity?  Susan Grundman is the Lead.

Flexible Spending Accounts Article 87 Workgroup:  The workgroup has finished it's work, the agency is taking the position they have no authority to implement this program, of course, we disagree President Carr sent a letter to the agency that we are ready to move forward.

Gainsharing Article 88 Workgroup:  The workgroup has completed its task and have presented their work to John Carr and Bill Peacock for their blessings.

Tax Consequences for Liaisons on extended details:  A National MOU is awaiting President John Carr's review that places the tax burden on the agency when a Liaisons remains beyond one year.

Bargaining Unit Consolidation Petitions:   Held in abeyance until we make a determination the best course of action for NATCA, particularly while we are in negotiations with the various new units.  Susan Grundman is the Lead.

Clarification of  Units/Regional Counsel Office:  FAA  has filed a petition for clarification of this unit to exclude the administrative officers on the
grounds they perform confidential work  Susan Grundman is the Lead.

We have prepared proposals for the following new Bargaining Units:  ABA, ARC, ARC-AL, AOS-200, 300/400, 510, AVN, ARP.  We are scheduling to prepare proposals with the following units:  AGC, Hawaii ATCS and Air Guard Techs, AIR, AFS-610.  Our first meeting/negotiations with the FAA with be April 15-20 on behalf Aircraft Certification Bargaining Unit and the week of June 11-16 we will meet/negotiate with the Agency on behalf of AMA,ABA,AGC,ARC and ARP bue's.  NATCA filed a petition with the Authority for Support Staff
Specialist located in Terminals, Centers and Regional Offices.

Pay Negotiations on behalf of NOTAM employees took place in the NATCA office on March 21, 2000.  Another session is scheduled for next Wednesday.  TMC and NOTAM CBA are combined, although the TMC CBA and Pay are complete, we cannot go to the printer until we wrap up pay for NOTAM's.

Recently, in the WP Region, the agency took the position and placed in writing not to allow two BUE's official/duty time to travel to participate
in arbitration.  The agency will get a sharp position from NATCA on our position, if they disagree, we will have an arbitrator decide.

On going discussions with the Agency that our position is when an employee self refers, the employee cannot be required to abstain from alcohol nor be disciplined in anyway, including last chance agreements.

Discussions on-going to best address the disparate treatment of Regional Flight Surgeons in regards to withdrawing bue's medical for special
consideration, who pays, etc.

By the end of the first week of April, all nine regions will have in place the National ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) Article 9, MOU.  Of those
Regions using this process, the parties have adopted the process to resolve many issues.

Article 8 ADR is only in affect in the Central, Great Lakes and Western Pacific Regions.  A determination will be made in June to maintain Article 8 ADR or expand to other regions.

Official Time for Lobby Week:  The Agency placed guidance out, Quote " that under Article 2 Section 17 is the provision for use of official time by Principle Facility Representatives for "other representational duties, NFFE v. Dept. of Veteran Affairs, 47 FLRA No. 105 (1993).  Conduct of lobbying activities by Union representatives on official time concerning legislation related to bargaining unit employee conditions of employment is an appropriate use of official time under 5 U.S.C , Section 7131 (d).  Base on case law and the CBA, the recognizes that Principal Facility Representatives may use official time for lobby activities and related training. The Principal Facility Representatives are entitled to receive official time up to the amount stated in the agreement.  However, they may not use official time for travel and will need to use approved leave for travel time.  It is their (facreps) responsibility to request and receive approval for the appropriate amount of official time and approved leave.  Other NATCA members must seek and receive approved leave to participate in Lobby Week activities.' Unquote.   We have contacted the agency of our disappointment in this guidance and that this is a change in the parties practices, that it is negotiable to perform lobbying activities on official time that there is no bar for duty time to travel, see 52 FLRA 93.  In the past we have obtained official time for designated lobbyist with no restrictions of duty time to travel.  We will continue to work this issue Nationally and keep you posted.

I'll be in Cleveland on Monday, Chicago Tuesday and Wednesday, Detroit on Thursday and DC on Friday.  Hope all have a safe and productive weekend...

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