Weekly Update for May 4, 2001

Sisters and brothers...

Not a lot happening this past week. For the most part I spent my time in the Cleveland office, answering phone calls and emails... hopefully I satisfied the questions and helped resolve some of your problems. Rest assured, I'm still working on the ones I couldn't help resolve.

Monday I was up in Minneapolis with Chris Blum to receive a briefing on airspace and traffic activity in the Minneapolis area, and the measures and plans the members of ZMP have been working on in answer to the growth expected over the next few years. As was expected, the plans are very comprehensive and well thought out, and require some very supportive efforts by the agency to successfully respond to our users in providing air traffic services.

We then received a briefing from Deny Burke (AGL-520) and Rick Norris (NATCA-520) on the current status of NAR in the NGL. To say these two individuals are the epitome of organization, energy and results is simply an understatement. It is very obvious to Chris and I that the NGL NAR teams are way ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to acting on our mission of improved safety and efficiency in the system through creative and realistic airspace design for the next several years. Our region is being looked at as the model for the rest of the country, and we can thank Rick and Deny and all of the facility participants for their efforts and dedication for doing the "right thing' for the "right reasons." Keep up the great work!

Article 52 - The NEB tried to have a telecon with the division managers this week concerning the Article 52 proposal. If you don't remember, this article deals with self directed work teams. Unfortunately, we had major telecommunications problems and the call was cancelled, so I don't have many specifics. However, I did receive the briefing package, and the issue will be discussed in next week's ATMT/NEB meeting. In a nut shell, the proposal suggest that we test one small and one large facility in each region. The criteria for a test site is as follows:

1) Manager and FacRep must be volunteers;
2) The Division manager and RVP must support the facilities participation in the test;
3) For continuity, the manager and FacRep must commit to personal participation in the test for a minimum of one year;
4) The manager and FacRep must have adequate participation from within their facility. In other words, there are enough willing participants (supervisors, BUE's, etc.) to make functional teams. (Note: it is not required that the entire facility participate in the test).
5) Facility staffing should be sufficient to: (1) accomplish required training, team meetings and other activities related to the test, and, (2) to conduct the self directed work teams without significant adverse impact on normal facility operations.

I need some feedback from all of you as to your desire to participate in this test. Chris and I will make the final selections by May 31, 2001.

Friday I traveled to the RO to meet with Chris on several issues, most notably the staffing numbers for FY02. Needless to say, we agreed on authorized staffing for facilities, but only as a target number since the actual national negotiations have not been completed. Hopefully, the numbers we used are conservative, meaning we will be allocated more than planned, but I'm not holding my breath. Safe to say, we did not over estimate... but things may change, and we agreed to readjust if necessary once negotiations are complete, so please understand that the numbers we agreed to are for planning purposes.

These numbers will enable us to conduct IPP assignments based on the vacancies existing at all of the facilities, and then we can go back and fill in the holes with new hires. Our next step is to conduct an IPP draft after the PCS selections have been completed. We both understand that time is of the essence, so expect the draft to be conducted by this time next month or sooner.

We also discussed the issue of IPP's vs. new hires, and what the language in the MOU requires. Obviously, there is some major push back by some of the ATM's in the field because they can't bypass all of the experienced and qualified controllers for a new hire. We are in agreement that for management to bypass a qualified controller in order to place a new hire, very clear justification would be required. I told Chris that just because an employee may be perceived as a pain in the ass for a particular manner, does not justify a non-selection; that would be a prohibited personnel action. In order to justify a non-selection, they must show that the BUE is not qualified, has been unsuccessful in the past, and in some instances, cannot be released in a relatively timely manner, but certainly not inconsistent with selections of the past. Each decision must be determined on an individual basis, there are no criteria per say for a non-selection.

George and I will be monitoring this process very closely. I suggest you do as well...

TMCIC - Chris clarified to me the agency position on when a TMC is entitled to CIC pay. He states that if the TMC is in the unit and is in charge of all traffic management and personnel decisions of the unit, not the ops sup or operations manager, the TMC is entitled to CIC pay. I'm not certain this is the position of the Union, but I will get clarification in the next couple of weeks.

I will be in DC next week, working on several issues, namely the ATMT/NEB meeting Wednesday and Thursday. Monday I'll be meeting with the Metrics work group planning our next stab at measuring the productivity of the agency and compliance with the CBA... should be interesting. As for all, I hope you have a safe and productive weekend, as John said, spring is in the air enjoy the season...


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