Multi-Unit Collaboration Cmte. Quarterly Meeting
Thursday, June 14, 2012

The joint NATCA/FAA Multi-Unit Collaboration Committee gathered for its quarterly meeting last week in the union’s national office. Kelvin Hale, who works in Oklahoma City and serves as one of NATCA’s leads on the committee, said the group has really coalesced well and there have been strong collaborative efforts between the Agency and the units covered under the Multi-Unit Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“We have seen a real increase in collaboration within the multi-units,” Hale said. “Relationships are improving and we are continuing to see positive movements similar to how the air traffic controllers have grown the collaboration process.”

The committee listened to a presentation from Dean Iacopelli of New York TRACON (N90), who discussed how NATCA members have moved from a culture of forced integration of FAA policies to a system where they now work collaboratively with management.

Iacopelli described how, under the White Book, controllers “suffered from loss of pride” and were bystanders as the FAA organized and built the airspace without NATCA input. Now, he said, employees are building, designing and running the airspace.

“They take pride in what they’ve built and if it breaks, they fix it,” Iacopelli told the group. “The collaboration process was designed to get people talking again.”

The committee also selected three members each from NATCA and the FAA to serve on the Multi-Unit Professional Standards Program (PSP), which will seek to resolve any conflicts between workers or other issues before they reach a point where discipline would be necessary.

Ideally, multi-unit members would be able to go to the PSP with concerns about a co-worker without fear of retribution, or without having to worry that the other worker will suffer punishment from management as a result of their complaint.

Hale said the meeting was as fruitful as any they have had recently, and it is a testament to how important both sides view collaboration.

“I can’t tell you exactly why collaboration used to be so lacking,” Hale said. “With things like PSP, it’s proof that we are gradually evolving into a situation where collaboration is strong across the board, and not just great at some facilities and poorer at others.”