Weekly Update for May 18, 2001

Sisters and brothers....


Another fun filled week in DC, but at least this time I got to share it with about 40 members from the Great Lakes region and another 200 legislative maniacs! I think our lobbying efforts on the part of all those who took the time and effort to come to DC and represent our collective interests did another fantastic job. I continue to be impressed by this event every time we have it; it's hard to believe that the next one will be more successful than the last, but that is just what we can all expect. My thanks go out to all of the Legislative Committee members and the NATCA Legislative department for the extraordinary line up of speakers this year. A special thanks to our own Rich Ulmes for setting up the entire event - GREAT JOB! And thanks to all who took the time to deliver our message to your respective representatives in the House and Senate, and to those who stayed back manning the boards... I thank you all.

I think one of the highlights we can all take hold of was Secretary Minetta's proclamation that he does not support the privatization of the air traffic control system. Now, that doesn't mean we can roll up our sleeping bags and go home, but it certainly sends a strong message to the industry, the Administration and all of the knucklehead fly-by-night corporations looking to make a fast buck with another government contract boondoggle.... The Administrators message to us was full of compliments and gratitude for the outstanding work we have contributed in moving the FAA ahead, both internally and externally through our contact with the legislative branch of the government. Whether you believe it or not, Jane Garvey has done more for the flying public and users of the system than any other Administrator in the last 20 years. She has correctly realized that in order to do this, she must rely on the expertise and collaboration of NATCA and the controller work force, something no other Administrator has been savvy enough to do.

IPP Draft - Preparations are being made to have an IPP draft either by the end of May or into the first week of June. Chris and I have tentatively agreed to staffing authorization for FY 2002. The reason I say tentatively is because we have not completed national negotiations for staffing allocations regionally. It's safe to say that when these negotiations are complete, the numbers we agreed to will increase. As I said last week, the joint ATMT/NEB meeting produced some great dialogue surrounding how these numbers would be distributed, and the agency's intention to authorize the 606 BUE's allocated for FY 2003 in FY 2002. The reasoning is that in order to staff up to the FY 2003 number of 15,606, the hiring needs to start now considering the consolidations, choke point sectors and attrition that will be taking place over the next 1.5 years.

Both George and I are very cognizant of the fact that many facilities have BUE's that have already been selected but not released at this time, and that will affect their vacancy number. I have already had discussions concerning this issue with the RO and do not expect a problem when it comes to selecting potential applicants for each facility. All of the FacRep's are encouraged to participate in the telecon, but remember, the manager makes the selection. I want you there to ensure that all of the information concerning releases and availabilities are in agreement between you and the manager. If your manager will not allow you on the call, let me know. Hopefully, I will have a date and time next week.

Flexible Spending Accounts - NATCA was notified by the Administrator that the Office of the Chief Counsel has determined that the FAA does not have the authority to unilaterally establish Flexible Spending Accounts, because we are still subject to % USC 87 and 89, which constitute the agency's only authority to spend appropriated funds for employee health and insurance programs. The House Civil Service Committee has begun work on a proposal to create "cafeteria plans" for federal employees. OPM continues to study flexible spending accounts (medical spending accounts and dependant care), but nothing is firm at this time.

TTAP - the agency has finally decided to implement the ARTS IIIA Tampa Traffic Count Patch that accurately and automatically captures traffic count from the radar to the TTAP program. There are about 100 facilities nation-wide that will benefit from this patch. It will require local adaptation, so make sure that once it is getting installed that you have your local TTAP expert work with the automation department to correctly adapt the program to your operation. This is a big time saver and should result in a more stable and accurate traffic count.

FacRep Time - There appears to be a growing problem in this region surrounding FacRep time. Specifically, managers are informing FacRep's that they can and will be recalled when they are off the schedule and performing Article 2 Section 17 time. there have already been many instances where this has occurred. The language in the CBA is quite clear, " Principal facility representatives or their designees who are granted official time may pursue their representational duties off premises when on official time, unless there is a particular reason to anticipate a need for them to resume work (e.g., an imminent severe weather disturbance)." Sick leave is not an imminent severe weather disturbance. This issue has come up in the past, but it was very isolated and infrequent. However that seems to be changing... I will most likely file a regional grievance because Chris and I do not see eye to eye on this issue. In the meantime, if your manager is not complying with the CBA, file a grievance, because you must remember, FacRep's normally schedule their FacRep time in advance, and it shall be approved based on operational requirements at that time.

Labor Relations Update - Courtesy of Bob Taylor:
National grievance filed for the agency requiring BUE to participate in a respiratory survey, allegedly a requirement from OSHA. Our internal investigation resulted that this survey is not an OSHA Survey, and should have been on a voluntary participation under Article 50.

Spoke with Ray Thoman again on May 15, to have a commitment from the agency to provide NATCA an advance copy of all videos with an opportunity to comment prior to being reviewed by BUM's.

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. Discussion today, May 15, with Ray Thoman in regards the agency wants to move on the stoves. Removing of the stoves is an agency initiative and not OSHA, a report from National Fire Prevention Association (who are not regulatory) is what the agency is relying upon. The agency has offered to replace the stoves with convection ovens, however, cannot show an adverse impact on why the stoves have to be removed. We stand firm and will go before the FSIP to decide this issue.

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

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 Grundmann are the Leads.

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 recently arbitrated this issue and awaiting a decision from the arbitrator.

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: National Grievance has been filed that training is not an operational requirement/necessity and if so, then what sort of training constitutes operational requirement/necessity? Susan Grundmann 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. This issue is still being worked.

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. John Carr presented MOU to Bill Peacock or signature.

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. Proposal submitted to the agency, awaiting a reply. Barry Krasner & Bob Taylor are the leads

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 Grundmann is the Lead

On going negotiations are in place with Aircraft Certification, AMA, ABA, AGC, ARC and ARP, ABA, ARC, ARC-AL, AOS-200, 300/400, 510, AVN, ARP, AGC, BUE’s. We are scheduling to address the following units, Hawaii ATCS and Air Guard Techs, AIR, AFS-6-10. NATCA filed a petition with the Authority for Support Staff Specialist located in Terminals, Centers and Regional Offices.

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 NOTAMs. Negotiations on hold pending OMB decision of AFSCME ULP. Recently, OMB denied the pay provisions with AFSCME, legal battle continues!

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. Melinda Kim is the Lead.

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. Melinda Kim is the lead.

All nine regions have in place the National ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) Article 9, MOU.

Article 8 ADR is only in affect in the Central, Great Lakes and Western Pacific Regions. A determination will be made in August to maintain Article 8 ADR or expand to other regions. In addition, we will review the success of Article 9 ADR.

Official Time for Lobby Week: Official time for Lobbying activities is controlled by Article 2, the issue of official time to travel and Facility Representatives delegating is no longer an issue.

Mark Bagley has joined NATCA L/R in a training status for the summer. A new L/R Administrative Assistant Terri Wayne will join us May 21. A new Organizer and representative for Contract Towers, Tom Bertelsman will join us June 25, 2001

Dave Sandbach:

AIR TRAFFIC ARTICLE 7 PROJECTS

Medium Intensity Weather System (MIAWS) - Negotiations are in progress with Management 2 received 5/14. Expect completion shortly.

Choke Points - Initial Article 7 briefing on 1/10. Follow-up agreement regarding staffing for opening of 4 new sectors was completed on 2/13. Subsequent meeting held 5/14. Staffing of additional Agency desired sectors must be addressed during A94 talks. I&I issues as training delays and immunity are being negotiated.

Ground Delay Program - Proposals have been exchanged with additional meeting on 5/14. Expect completion shortly. Role of ZDC/ATCSCC liaison should be addressed and clarified.

NCT PCS Authorizations - Initial Article 7 brief on 4/30. Union 1 provided to Agency 5/1. Negotiations are in progress. Desire completion ASAP as people would like to begin moving.

National Operational Log Program - Agreement reached and are awaiting signed original from Agency.

Precision Runway Monitor - Initial Article 7 briefing on 6/6/00. Negotiation are in progress. Agency is reducing initiative to PHL only at present. Expect completion shortly.

Coded Departure Routes - Awaiting Agency response to briefing request transmitted 1/26. Follow-up needed.

Aviation System Performance Metrics - Awaiting Agency response to briefing request transmitted 12/12/00. Follow-up needed.

Distributive Air-Ground Traffic Management System - Agency request for A48 rep was withdrawn. The issue is currently on hold by Agency.

Runway Incursion Device - Article 7 briefing scheduled for 5/29.

Stand Alone Weather System (SAWS) - MOU completed 9/12/00. Program experiencing contractor performance issues and MOU enforcement is in progress concerning locally required negotiations.

ASDE 3 Monitor Replacement - Interim fix was worked in conjunction with AMASS Liaison late 99 through 00. Follow-up needed to determine if complete or more work needed.

Transponder Landing System (TLS) - Article 7 briefing conducted on 12/12/00. System is not ready for operational use. Advised Agency on 12/13/00 to provide notice when they get their act together. Awaiting Agency response.

Gulf of Mexico VHF Extended Range Network and Buoy System (VERN/BCS) - Article 7 briefing was conducted on 7/12/00. BCS problems prevent system from proceeding. Parties agreed to separate VERN and continue working BCS issues. Follow-up needed.

Global Positioning System Outage En Route Simulation (GOERS) - Article 7 briefing requested though current work with GPS liaison indicates the program needs only agreement between parties regarding use of replay data. Negotiations are in progress. Expect completion shortly.

Aviation Safety Reporting System structured "Callback" for surface incidents - Article 7 briefing scheduled for 5/29.

Oceanic Navigational Error Reporting (ONER) - Article 7 briefing scheduling in progress.

ASOS/IDS Interface at new TRACONs - Article 7 briefing scheduling in progress.

Post Operational Evaluation Tool (POET) - Article 7 briefing conducted on 4/30. System is statistical database and should not require bargaining. Expect completion shortly.

Air Traffic Activities Operations Count - Article 7 briefing scheduling in progress.

OKC Academy return to Pass/Fail initial hire course completion - Informational briefing conducted on 4/30. Issue affects employees prior to entrance in bargaining unit. Issue should not require bargaining. Expect completion shortly.

LOOPS testing at Long Beach - Article 7 briefing scheduled for 5/29.

Charted Visual Flight Procedures - Article 7 briefing requested on 1/23. Awaiting Agency reply. Follow-up needed.

Changes to 7100.9C Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) - Article 7 briefing requested on 1/23 - Awaiting Agency reply. Follow-up needed.

Surface Management System (SMS) - Article 7 briefing scheduling in progress.

Strategic Plan of Operation (SPO) - Article 7 briefing requested on 4/20. Awaiting Agency reply.

RECLASS

1/16-17 Review - 52 cases were reviewed by the Reclass Team. Agency proposal for resolution was received 5/15 and is under review. Expect completion by 5/18. Letters to RVPs/FACREPS will follow with target completion date of 5/31.

ENGINEERS

Article 89 Staffing negotiations - Distribution to Airways Facilities completed 4/12. Distribution to ANI negotiations scheduled for 5/22-24.

ANI Design Negotiations - In progress. Working with Agency to determine workgroup make-up, decision tools, and ground rules.

Gold Bar - Informational briefing conducted on 4/5. Do not expect bargaining to be necessary. Expect completion shortly.

ITRA national grievance - filed on 1/29 concerning harm to numerous employees at the Roslyn facility. Discussing issue with Agency personnel. May need to proceed to arbitration.

Corporate Maintenance Philosophy in Alaska Region - Grievance settled on 4/12. Currently working to resolve peripheral grievances and have meeting scheduled for 5/23.

Proposed Discipline in New England Region - Decision letter issued 5/21 for 30-day suspension. Grievance and ULP will most likely be necessary. Expect possible arbitration.

Regional Program Manager Reorganization - Internal meeting held on 3/8. Taking proactive opposing approach with the Agency.

Agency change of Per Diem rate for employee in travel status - ESO grievances filed. Arbitration scheduling is in progress. Cases have been sent to field advocate for evaluation.

Terminal Business Unit - this is a proof of concept agency re-organization to align all logistical support necessary to provide terminal Air Traffic Services. On-going talks with Agency are in progress to determine appropriate course of action to protect current bargaining unit.

ADTN2000 Network Upgrade - Request sent to agency for clarification. Phone tag in progress.

Realignment of ANM-470 - meeting requested on 3/30. Awaiting Agency reply.

Baseline Change Notices (BCN) - Workgroup formed 10/25/00. The parties plan additional meeting in the September 01 time frame. Workgroup activity is on-going. Follow-up needed.

Comp Time Use before Annual in the Chicago IC - Letter advising Agency to maintain status quo sent 10/25. No Agency reply and the issue appears to have died. Follow-up needed.

ATRA Denial in Alaska Region - grievance resolved prospectively and ATRA paid until roll-in. Currently talking with Agency to determine if arbitration by brief is possible to address the desire for back pay.

Article 2 Official Time - Dispute over calculations. National grievance was filed on 2/28. Arbitration scheduling is in progress with Agency representative.

On-going support is being provided to National Officers.

ITRA for AMASS Liaison - On-going work with ATX Liaison is in progress to resolve dispute over included taxes.

Labor Distribution Reporting System - Agency project to have all employees report allocated labor in order to track costs. Provided comments 1/31 and received feedback on 3/7. Received implementation notice 4/27 and requested Article 7 meeting. Awaiting agency reply.

General Accounting Office Reports - Current review of Agency CIC, Attrition and Free Flight Phase I initiatives. Working with GAO representatives to provide access to field personnel. Follow-up needed.

Operational Error Reduction Workgroup - on-going support to workgroup members. Last group meeting at CMD on 4/17. Follow-up needed.

Ongoing dialogue with AAT-200 concerning Quality Assurance continues.

DENNIE ROSE:

Negotiating interim agreements with new Title 5 (DOD) and Title 32 (National Guard) controllers in Hawaii.

Currently in negotiations to settle a removal action taken against a controller in Hawaii prior to arbitration considerations.

Working with Western-Pacific Region on outstanding grievances, identifying cases that should be scheduled for arbitration and evaluating possible resolutions.

National Office contact for the following bargaining units: Western Pacific Region, TMCs, AOS 300/400, AOS-200, AVN Engineers, AFS 610, Airports Division and Airports Dist. Offices, Hawaii National Guard and DOD controllers. Daily representational functions for each group.

Art. 7 scheduled for ASR-11 upcoming, working with liaison.

Art. 7 for Historical Validated Restrictions for TMCs upcoming.

Recent Art. 7 briefing on Data Spacing Program, working with EA Reg. DSP liaison John Higgins and ATX liaison Mike Hull on MOU proposal creating a national workgroup and ensuring that the system is prepared to expand on a national scope. Awaiting art. 48 notification from the FAA in order to designate a national liaison.

Working with Tony Henry and John Carr on developing a TFM User Team (TUTS) workgroup MOU that will expeditiously and efficiently deal with related TMC issues.

Completed internal collective bargaining agreement negotiations with Airport Certification last week.

Preparing for contract negotiations with the FAA for a collecting bargaining agreement for AOS 300/400.

Working with Jim Breen (AOS 400 rep.) for the pending Terminal Business Unit reorganization.

Working with Jess Lewis (AFS 610) in negotiating an internal reorganization that combines AFS 610 with Aircraft Certification, will probably end up before the FLRA clarifying the unit. Agency contends that AFS 610 may be an AFSCME BU after the reorg. , will disagree and fight the issue before the FLRA.

Assist Ralph Paggington (AOS 300 rep.) in devising and forwarding a recent message to all RVPs and national office reps requesting any possible assistance from the controller workforce in maintaining AOS 300’s established role in developing software for controllers such as URET, CCLD, Pfast. This BU is mainly comprised of 2152 controllers and it behooves NATCA as a whole to maintain the dichotomy of ex-controllers in AOS creating and maintaining software for current controllers. The fear is that PASS will assume this role as has happened with DSR.

Awaiting arbitration decision from Central Region concerning controller removed for 3 operational errors. Decision is due any day now.

MIKE DOHERTY:

Completed arbitration of "parasite" T-shirt issue. Case was originally heard in Anchorage in 3/2000, but arbitrator was too sick to render a decision. Presented the case to a new arbitrator last week in Seattle. Decision is due in 4-6 weeks.

Arbitration scheduled for 6/2000 for a NM region controller who lost his FAM privileges for 2 years because he switched his return flight without getting prior approval.

Arbitration scheduled for 7/2000 for a NM region contract interpretation case. The issue is whether, under Article 32, Section 5, the Agency can deny a shift change request based upon the operational requirements of the receiving shift, i.e. the shift the controller wants to change to is already fully staffed.

FAA has finally chosen a representative for the C90 alleged slowdown arbitration. Her name is Cheryl Williams and she is from the Chief Counsel's office at FAA headquarters. Osborne and I do not foresee the cases going to arbitration until this summer. We have to be careful of prime time leave when scheduling the case.

Article 7: Parties are in negotiations over deployment of HOST software "3,000 character patch" at ARTCCs. Union will submit a proposal this week.

Article 7: Agency briefed the Union on its plan to deactivate long range radar sites for ARTCCs. The Agency's briefing was inadequate in that its representatives could not answer a number of questions about the project. Union sent a list of questions to the Agency. Negotiations are in abeyance until questions are answered.

Article 7: The Union has a proposal in to the Agency concerning URET implementation. Awaiting the Agency's response.

Article 7: Parties are in negotiation over a test of ICAO flight plans at Houston ARTCC. The Union is awaiting the Agency's next proposal.

Article 7: The Union is awaiting briefings on the following projects: WARP Stage 1, Phase 2; DSR software drop; and DSR software enhancement.

Union and FLRA settled a DFR grievance from Bradley TRACON. BUEs accused Union of violating DFR in investigation of hostile work environment and the imposition of discipline by Agency. Settlement calls for posting of statement of the law at TRACON only. Settlement contains language stating that Union does not admit violation of the Statute.

Denver Parking: The FAA and the City and County of Denver have reached an agreement on constructing a covered parking area for DEN controllers. Until structure is completed, controllers can park in garage with FAA reimbursing the cost. The FLRA has determined that the agreement constitutes substantial compliance with the FLRA's award in the matter. The appeal of the case to the Court of Appeals has been dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the FLRA can reinstate the case if the FAA does not comply with the agreement, i.e., does not build the structure.

Contract Towers: BUEs ratified new CBA between RVA and NATCA. Contract guarantees an annual 3.9% wage increase and standardizes leave accrual among NATCA facilities, among other things. NATCA and Midwest met for first round of CBA negotiations in April in Kansas City. Not much progress. Next session is tentatively scheduled for 6/2000.

National Arbitrations: 1) 5% ATRA for PATCO rehires and 2) change in past practice concerning comp time balance carryover. I have not yet scheduled these cases with the Agency. Targeting late summer for the arbitration hearings.



Technical and A48 Requests - There continue to be a myriad of A48 requests for representatives, and to be quite honost, I can't keep up with which ones are new and which ones are still looking for reps. I ask that if anyone is interested in working on one of the part time representational work groups, please send me an email and I'll forward up your name. I won't display the subject, just that there are many opportunities on various subjects. So if you have a member that would like to get more involved with these projects, just get their name to me.

Membership - courtesy of Lew Ziets:

May 31, 2001 is the last day in which our members can sign up for the Unum/NATCA Long Term Disability Insurance as a guaranteed (no medical pre-qualification) issue. The following is a condensation of our program thus far:

· We are happy that approximately 1,100 have taken advantage of this opportunity

· Unfortunately, out of 14,000 plus members, less than 10% have chosen to take advantage of this union sponsored benefit.

· Few, especially in the larger facilities, have chosen simply not to take advantage of the offer. We are running about 3-5% in some of the centers. Those individuals with the highest incomes have the greatest reason to protect their assets. It is difficult to believe that 95% of controllers in centers do not see a need for this product. The primary asset of our members is their incomes. Take it away, and the house of cards falls fairly quickly! The taxable 40% simply cannot support our member needs/wants, and there is generally a substantial waiting period prior to actually receiving monies once medically disqualified. In addition, those who have not worked more than 60 months are not eligible for FAA retirement - even at the 40% level !

· Please stress to your member's that this is a NATCA endorsed product – customized for us. It was created to fill a real need! The FAA retirement offering is simply not adequate! It is important that they get behind a product that took literally months to negotiate and develop on their behalf. More importantly, it is a product that will provide them dignity in retirement if they become medically disqualified by the FAA, and the OPM. Most importantly, it is essential that their spouses and their children do not find themselves financially overburdened due to no fault of their own.

· No one is “pulling the rug out” from anyone, and we will live with whatever aggregate numbers we reach – but in order for the plan to be effective, the number of members should be as high as possible in order to keep the ratio of inevitable claims low. That is the beauty of group programs.

If you believe this program and this product is good for members, and I want to make certain that every member is fully appreciative of this plan and that they completely understand how it plays out. As always, I am here to assist you in whatever way I can to make the program work for all of our members.

Next week I'll be in Cleveland Monday and Tuesday, Indianapolis Wednsday, Thursday and Friday. Hope everyone has a safe and eventful weekend!



Pat


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