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Sisters and brothers...
Sorry that this update is coming to you on Sunday rather than Friday. An issue came up at MBS concerning potential OSHA violations. Unfortunately the issue has not been resolved at this time, but I will continue to pursue an acceptable resolution.
This past week was certainly a great opportunity to meet and talk with almost all of the FacRep's and several NATCA activist involved in the Great Lakes region. Although the meeting was somewhat spontaneous, the ability to meet with our peers is invaluable to generating personal contacts and discussing issues. I will endeavor to make each succeeding meeting a worthwhile learning event, as well as a conduit to camaraderie.
The week began with the NEB telecon. The NEB was deluged with information, most of which John has relayed in his weekly update, so I won't bore you with the reiteration. However, I would like to touch on a couple of issues that are notable.
Mr. George Mynatt, the NATCA retirement guru was a topic of discussion. After some meetings between John and Ron Morgan, the agency will audit a couple of George's seminars to determine if his briefings are certifiable. Once that is done, and the agency is satisfied that the information being provided is complete and accurate, Mr. Mynatt will be provided official time per the CBA to give these briefings across the country.
In a related area, I have had another conversation with Chris Blum concerning my proposal on training retirement experts in the GL region. Apparently, the HR people have been brainstorming ways to get the message out to our members per the CBA. They intend to make a video of the briefings they usually conduct, and distribute them to each facility. Employees could then play the video anytime it is convenient. While this appears to be a good idea, it doesn't provide for timely feedback or the ability for BUE's to ask questions.
We then discussed the possibility of setting up a specific time, weekly or monthly, whereby the video could be played throughout the region at several facilities simultaneously. At the end of the broadcast, employees could then ask questions. Again, this appears to be another possible solution, but the time available to answer all of the questions from so many employees would be limited. I think that the use of the video and the addition of retirement experts will serve our membership best. We are going to review the video in the near future and discuss the best way to provide our employees with retirement information. I am still convinced that a core of experts is a viable option or supplement to anything HR wishes to do, and I believe that Chris will consider anything that is effective.
As I identified to the FacRep's at the Indy meeting, the PCS/IPP MOU has some problems. As you know, the number of IPP's that can transfer to a higher level facility in FY 2001 cannot exceed the number of paid moves during FY 2000. Unfortunately, the total number of ATS moves nation-wide for FY 2000 amounted to somewhere in the vicinity of 35. Although this number has not yet been officially determined, safe to say, funded moves last year were nominal. To exacerbate the problem, it was aged in the MOU that no new hires would be placed in a level ATC-9 facility or higher before BUE's who bid on those facilities are first offered the position. If there are no IPP's allowed, does that mean the agency can now populate ATC-9's and higher without first offering the position to a BUE? And with the total amount of funded moves, did the proportionate amount of 65% get distributed to BUE's?
The agency has put out this guidance to the 540's nation-wide:
"To all 540s:
As you may recall, the PCS MOU, Unfunded Moves Section 1.c (page 6)stipulates that the number of unfunded BUE moves to a higher level facility shall not exceed the number of funded moves from the previous fiscal year. ATX is currently in the process of determining the total number of funded FY00 BU moves. Once that information is compiled, it will be shared with NATCA at the national level, with a discussion to follow as to where that leaves us for FY01 unfunded moves. In order to ensure that we comply with this agreement, coordination with ATX-200 should take place prior to selecting NATCA BUE's for an unfunded move to a higher level facility.
On a related topic, we have had several recent discussions with NATCA about Section 7, Transfer Requests, in the PCS MOU. The issue is hiring from the outside versus filling vacancies with internal BUE
applicants at ATC-9 or above facilities. In the situations we are aware of, some but not all BU applicants were selected to move to the ATC-9 or above facilities & the remaining vacancies are targeted for
filling by outside hires. At this point, IAW the MOU requirements, we are planning to hold the initial national discussion on this issue on November 8.
In order to continue the flow of hiring, we have an interim agreement with NATCA national for regions to continue external hiring at ATC-9 or above facilities up to the total number of vacancies minus the BUE
applicants not selected for that facility. For example, under ASO's mega-bid, ZME selected some BUE applicants but did not select four of their BUE applicants. After the internal selections were made, ASO
determined they still had a need to fill 25 ZME vacancies in FY01 & they plan to meet that need via outside hires. Since there are only 4 BUE applications in dispute at ZME, ASO management & NATCA agreed ZME should proceed with the hiring of 20-21 individuals from the outside, while holding 4 of the slots in abeyance, pending the outcome of the national discussions.
If you have any questions about anything in this message, please contact Frank Doscher or me. Additionally, if you have any issues or concerns that you think we should be aware of before we meet with NATCA, please let us know."
Understand, the intent of the provision to the funded vs. unfunded move was developed by the previous NEB to ensure that the agency did not eliminate funded moves. My concern is that we may have eliminated both MPP's and IPP's, and vacancies will be replaced with new hires. The parties will meet November 8th to discuss this issue. I'm confident that a workable solution will be the result. Any feedback to me will be forwarded to John Carr.
Wednesday brought us to the FacRep training in Indianapolis. I believe it was successful, but I intend to make each successive meeting better than the last. We had some great discussions concerning Oshkosh, CIC training, FLRA decisions, OWCP, NTSB, OSHA, the CBA, and various other topics. We were also afforded the presence of Chris Blum and Dick Petersen to discuss their goals for the region, their philosophy in dealing with the Union, and answering numerous questions from the reps. I am cautiously optimistic that Chris is willing and able to reach resolution on any issue that presents itself. Only time will tell. Regardless, I would like to thank them for showing up and taking the time to discuss these issues with the leaders of this Union.
I also want to thank the representatives for taking the time to travel to Indianapolis for three days. I know the impact this has on our families; please thank your spouse or significant other for allowing you the opportunity to be involved in this Union. For those that were unable to attend, I certainly understand, and hope to see you at the next one.
And finally in the thank you column, I want to extend my appreciation to Darren Gains, Rich Ulmes, Carol Jones, Jim Poole, Rick Norris and Deny Burke, Taylor Koonce, George Petrovich, Bryan Zilonis, John Carr, and Laurelle (for setting everything up). Great job by all! If I forgot someone, please accept my apology in advance :)
Next week I'll be somewhere in Virginia "team building" with the NEB. I will try to respond to all inquiries as they come up, but please be patient if I don't get back with you right away. George will be in the NATCA regional office most of the week if something can't wait. Hope everyone had a great weekend...
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