<!----Enter Date Bellow *************> Weekly Update for Setember 29, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow *************> Setember 29, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

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Good afternoon sisters and brothers,

This has been an interesting week to say the least. Monday I was catching up on several outstanding issues germane to particular facilities while in Cleveland. Hopefully, I have followed up satisfactorily for those facilities. CIC training seems to be the question of the week. Two issues have cropped up:

1) Does the classroom training need to be taught by an instructor, or can BUE's complete the course through self study? As I have been told by members of the Article 18 (CIC) training group, the classroom course is designed for interactive instruction, and requires a "teacher." The CBI portion can be done on an individual time basis, but I assume, prior to the classroom instruction.

The rationale involves the magnitude of the authority and responsibility while assuming CIC duties. The work group determined that if BUE's were going to be held accountable for their actions while performing CIC duties, they had better get all of the instruction associated with the duties. Unfortunately, controllers tend to rush through written briefings, and face to face instruction ensures that all of the information is provided, and the opportunity for questions is available. Many facilities, especially the lower level terminals, are finding it difficult to provide instructors and the time to provide training. One suggestion that may help is to video tape the classroom instruction, and use that for each subsequent class. This would probably require that the supervisor or ATM be available to answer questions when they arise. This has not been cleared by the work group, but I believe it is an available option. We could also use BUE's as instructors once they have gone through the course. I don't know if the instructor would need FIT training, but it is something I will look into.

2) Does CIC training take precedence over annual leave? According to the arbitration decision concerning Article 99 - operational requirements, CIC training is not considered an operational requirement. The work group has agreed to this. If management tells you that your annual leave is not approved based on CIC training being an operational requirement, they are wrong.

However, depending on your negotiated policy or past practice, it may not matter if CIC training is an operational requirement. That is to say, if you schedule BUE's out for training in the past, was annual leave approved? If your policy has been that once a BUE is off the schedule for training and you're at minimum staffing, do you cancel training and approve the leave or is leave not approved? If your local doesn't have a negotiated policy for annual leave based on staffing, you should. If you don't, negotiate one based on the implementation of CIC training.

Remember, the arbitration decision states that training is an operational requirement, but only training that involves direct performance of air traffic duties (i.e., OJT) and can only be considered on the day in question. When an employee is actively undergoing OJT that involves the sequencing and separation of aircraft, requests for spot leave or official time may be denied. However, in situations involving other types of training which do not involve the sequencing and separation of air traffic or the day to day active duties of a controller, the leave should be approved. Management cannot claim that they will be conducting OJT three days from now, so your leave request is denied, but they can deny a leave request on the actual day OJT is being conducted and you request leave for that day, on that day.

CIC training is not an issue concerning operational requirements. So make sure you have a negotiated policy for annual leave requests as it relates to staffing requirements. The local needs to make a decision on the importance of leave and training, and negotiate a policy that works best for your members.

Tuesday I headed for Chicago to participate in a couple of meetings. Tuesday night myself, Dave Sandbach, Mike Doherty, Denny Rose and George had a meeting with members of C90. We discussed all of the options concerning the proposed disciplinary action being taken against our brothers. NATCA will pursue each and every proposed action levied by the agency, including complete adjudication through expedited arbitration or MSPB. I believed we answered all of their questions, and reiterated the Unions commitment to represent them to the full extent of the law. Now it's time to review the information the agency provided, request that which they didn't and formulate a response to the proposals.

Wednesday brought me and George to the regional office for a meeting with Chris Blum. I must say, it turned out to be very productive. We discussed nearly 30 issues, some resolved, others we both have IOU's for. Let's discuss those that pertain to most everyone....

Comp time - I explained the Unions position on management requiring BUE's to use comp time balances, that being that management can't. Based on the MOU and past practice review of 1998, this issue was not raised by either party as a violation to the CBA or FAA orders. I further explained that even if they wanted to enforce the use of comp time, they would have to follow the provisions of 5 CFR 551.531 since BUE's are non-exempt employees. That provision allows the head of an agency (or designee) the right to make employees use comp time during a certain period of time, however, if it isn't all used, the agency is required to pay the balance to each employee at one and one the basic hourly rate at which it was earned. He said that he would have one of his specialists look into the issue further. Until then, he has not instructed his managers to force BUE's to use their comp time, but asked that they encourage BUE's to use it... Smells like coercion to me.

Parking - a few facilities have some parking problems that have been elevated either through grievances or impasses. We both agreed to research the specific issues and discuss them at a later date.

TTAP - Chris is concerned about the continual problems associated with the TTAP program. This is an issue that NATCA is well aware of. I explained that we have a dispute with MSDT on the priority that CRU-X has over TTAP. We both agreed to bring this issue up to headquarters.

ATMT/NEB meeting - A tentative date is being set for the ATMT and the NEB to meet, probably sometime in early December. Not sure what will be on the agenda.

ADR - Another ADR training class will be conducted on October 11 and 12 in Chicago. Chris and I would like to see our ADR representatives begin using this process in the field. We will probably dispatch a pair in about two weeks in the Minnesota hub. Ideally, we would like to send out the pairs to brief facilities on what the process is and how we intend to utilize it. Hopefully, we can begin this process early in the new fiscal year.

Model work environment - Thanks to the hard work of Ron, Pete and management representatives, all of the assessments that were done should be complete and in the hands of the ATM's and FacRep's. The parties are to begin in jointly developing an action plan to improve any deficiencies. if anyone is having a problem, contact me or Ron Bond at FNT for assistance.

Alcohol assessments - Our friendly regional Flight Surgeon is off and running on some sort of power ride... recently a BUE was required to go to an assessment, however the flight surgeon has determined that the report was inconclusive and is scheduling another. Unfortunately, that boat don't float. I will be submitting a regional grievance on the grounds that further medical examination was conducted by an FAA authorized physician with conclusive results. This does not give the flight surgeon carte blanch to shop for the answer he wants.

OSH - We agreed that a meeting of several facilities was in order and is in the process of being scheduled concerning the problems that developed at the OSH EAA fly-in this year. Thanks to all of the reps who provided me with detailed explanations of those problems. You will be notified shortly, or have been notified on arranging some times and dates. Let me know if you need any support.

Staffing - the NEB has yet to provide the agency with a proposal on regional staffing numbers. Until that is done, we are kind of in limbo. Currently, the Great Lakes region has 2947 on board controllers; this includes developmentals and accounts BUE's on part time a full time. The FAA is authorizing our region 2960. The hiring plan proposed by AGL allows for 30 bodies per quarter, which is a target number to account for attrition. Both Chris and I believe we need a lot more.

In our next meeting, we will dive more into the staffing issue and the hiring plan. I would like to see that first, our membership within the region gets first dibs, second, bring in some people from outside the region that want to be here, and finally, fill in the holes with new hires. Not sure how Chris feels about this, but we'll start down the path of discussion very soon. If you have any suggestions or comments concerning the staffing/hiring plan, be sure to e-mail me.

3rd Level grievance review - Chris and I will be conducting our first 3rd level review on October 16th and 17th in Chicago. We have agreed that the setting will be just me and George, Chris and Dick or John Mullen. We agreed that the need exists to conduct this process at least once a month. I doubt seriously that we will be able to resolve all of the current outstanding issues, but we'll take a good whack at them.

I will be selecting a couple of new advocates to work on these issues on a continuous basis with the 540 specialists. As soon as I get a confirmation on their willingness, I will let you know who they are and how we intend to operate. Finally, My plan is to notify each grievant and Facrep as to the disposition on their issue once it is resolved, including some rationale and some reasoning, especially if the Union withdraws their grievance.

Next week:

Monday - I will be in Detroit for a meeting with the D21 and PTK Facreps; an afternoon meeting with the Facrep and members of YIP

Tuesday - Office in Cleveland

Wednesday - Meeting in Minneapolis with the tower, TRACON and STP, then off to DC for a meeting concerning the National Airspace Review NAR

Thursday - meeting with John Carr, Monte Belger, and other Facreps from NGL, NEA and NNE concerning NAR

Friday - office in Cleveland

I hope everyone has a safe and productive weekend....

Pat Forrey

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