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October 2020 New England Regional Update

From Mick Devine, NATCA New England Regional Vice President

As we enter the final days of the national elections, we should discuss the importance of NATCA elections. Elections result in the leadership of your union from the national President all the way down to the local area reps. While the foundation of our union will always be the members-at-large, elections create the leaders that direct the bargaining unit day-to-day and run the operations of their associated levels.

Let’s talk about our elected leaders. No matter who our elected leaders are, you will always find those that like them and believe they are doing a good job. Conversely, you will also have those who believe they are terrible and not doing a good job. This is normal, and quite frankly, a great thing. Leaders who continuously go through their terms unchallenged cannot filter down energy and growth to the driving force of our organization. Challenging a leader on occasion allows ideas to blossom, fosters healthy discussion, and enables organizations to grow and shift direction as needed.

Leaders need sounding boards to run things by. Those sounding boards are usually either appointed or elected. However they got there, they should never only be “yes” people. Leaders should surround themselves with an inner circle or LEBs that question and challenge them to ensure all sides of the idea have been vetted.

Leaders also need to groom and mentor their members and leaders to eliminate a single point of failure. Life happens, and when it does, someone needs to step up and step in, because the business of the organization—which is meant to protect you—never stops. The members that need to be groomed are not just those that agree with you, but all members willing to step up, including those that don’t want to. An educated bargaining unit is a powerful bargaining unit. It’s a bargaining unit that management doesn’t want to have. Management does not want to be held accountable; they only want to hold you accountable.

You, the member, have a say in who you surround your leaders with, and you do so through elections. We must take those elections seriously. Every position we elect matters. There are no “easy positions” in NATCA. Leaders should demand excellence from every one of the leaders they put before them; they should expect a work ethic which is second to none. We shouldn’t nominate people because it would be funny or because it’s an “easy” position and doesn’t really matter. Again, they all matter.

When you get to the appointed leaders, a leader gets to pick. A good leader will pick from their most passionate members, not just the ones who agree with them. Oftentimes, it’s when there is a thought of a bad leader that invokes grass roots energy and passion that gives the organization a larger pool to choose from. It also breeds energy from those that support the leader and believe they are doing a good job. Constant, unchallenged leaders oftentimes create a portion of their membership which become complacent, limiting the pool.

An elected representative belongs to the membership, not the other way around. Managers look at the bottom line while leaders look to the top line for vision and direction. The membership gives that vision and direction. Our job is to demand from our other leader’s adherence to principle-centered leadership. Principle-centered leadership suggests that the highest level of human motivation is a sense of personal contribution. We need to underscore that members are NATCA’s most valuable resource: stewardship is the key to discovering, developing, and managing all other assets. We need to make each member a free agent, not victims or pawns limited by conditions and conditioning.

If you don’t like the direction your area, local, region, or organization is going, don’t turn your back on it. Roll up your sleeves and help get it steered in the right direction. Be the member you’d want to lead, and demand that your leaders are someone you would follow to a place you wouldn’t go alone. If you like your rep, help your rep. If you don’t like your rep, help your rep. It takes all of you to help us go from good to great. Be the change you demand and help us see it through. Your leaders should be helping to unlock all of your potentials. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

NAS Staffing Graphs


Labor Management Relations

From Scott Robillard, NATCA New England ARVP

Hello New England,

COVID-19 continues to dominate everything in its path! The COVID issues that routinely are elevated to the ARVP and GM are:

– 1 team vs. 2 teams vs. 3 teams
– Initiation of OJTI
– Recall of employees
– Operational readiness plans

For this month’s update I want to cover a couple of misnomers that have become pervasive.

How many hours a week does a full time FAA employee work? By law and contract, unless you have requested and been approved for part-time, you are a 40 hour a week Agency employee. Staff Support Specialist (SSS) and other NATCA Bargaining Units (Region X, OSF and FAST) have Telework Agreements and have been assigned to work remotely. The Air Traffic Bargaining Unit has been issued a waiver to have a Telework Agreement and, in most cases, the Agency has elected to not assign work while the employee is not required to be in the facility. During those periods, the employee is assigned Administrative Leave.

Question 1: Can the Agency assign you work on the days you are away from the facility? Yes.
Question 2: Can you deny the assignment? Not any more than you can deny your assignment of the 0545 shift tomorrow morning.
Question 3: Can I do or be assigned ELMS courses from home? Yes
Question 4: Can I be assigned to attend a CIC course from home? Yes

What if I don’t want to do work while I am not at the facility on administrative time? This will cause one of a couple possible outcomes:

  1. You could start a conduct case on yourself for failure to accomplish work that is lawfully assigned.
  2. You can cause a COVID schedule change because the work must be accomplished, and the employee has stated that the work can only be accomplished from the facility.
  3. The Agency could work with the Union to cordon off a section of the facility for the employee to accomplish the work from the facility.

In some facilities, the use of controllers-in-charge (CICs) has increased significantly and that has caused some to try and question whether or not controllers should be doing it at all. While not directly related to COVID, COVID has certainly caused some of these issues to re-present themselves.

What is a CIC and why do they exist? Isn’t that someone else’s job? I didn’t volunteer to do that—why is someone trying to assign it to me?

OK, first things first: basically no one likes to be the CIC. But to have this discussion, let’s first state a couple of facts:

  1. Controller-In-Charge is in the 2152 position description
  2. FAAO 7210.3 2-6-1(a) says:  Watch supervision requires maintaining situational awareness (defined below) of traffic activity and operational conditions in order to provide timely assistance to specialists and that ensure available resources are deployed for optimal efficiency. Watch supervision may be performed by a manager, supervisor, or controller−in−charge (CIC).
  3. NATCA/FAA Contract states in Article 18, Section 1: The CIC/TMSIC/TMCIC/NSIC is intended to provide watch supervision for the continuous operation of a facility or area where a supervisor is not available. Assignments of employees to CIC/TMSIC/TMCIC/NSIC duties are used, when necessary, to supplement the supervisory staff.

How did COVID affect CIC? Math. Let’s assume a mid-level up/down facility. The position need is 2 in the tower and 2 in the radar plus a Watch Desk. The facility has 5 Operational Supervisors (OS) and 30 controllers (which is well-staffed). During COVID, they transition to 3 teams. This is how the staffing would look:

Crew A day: 5 CPC and 1 OS
Crew A night: 5 CPC and 1 OS
Crew B day: 5 CPC and 1 OS
Crew B night: 5 CPC and 1 OS
Crew C day: 5 CPC and 1 OS
Crew C night: 5 CPC and 0 OS

Crew C nights looks to have a problem. But whose problem is it? Management’s or the Union’s?

To protect your rights, you need to know your rights…and your obligations.

The answer is BOTH. The staffing shortage is for the position of Watch Supervision. By Agency Order, this position can be staffed by EITHER a CIC, or an OS. Furthermore, by contract, the ATC Bargaining Unit will supplement, when necessary, for supervisory staff. This facility’s choices are to either cover the OS shortage on Crew C nights or transition to 2 teams.


Alternate Regional Vice President

From Curt Fischer, NATCA New England ARVP

The majority of October has been centered around elections. Most evenings were filled with text banking or phone banking opportunities. I say opportunity because it has been a chance to get out the vote and build on our NATCA majority. NATCA’s legislative outreach is one of the pillars of our organization’s success and a core strength or our region. As NATCA’s Legislative Chair Richard Kennington noted on our last Regional membership town hall meeting, New England has earned a reputation for activism responsible for inspiring other much larger NATCA Regions. Elections give us an opportunity to build important relationships with our law makers. Relationships that are the key to mounting an effective legislative response to our members needs.

Elections are also play a key role in the function of our Union. As RVP Mick Devine expressed above, elections connect the membership to their leaders. This process plays out thru out our locals at regular intervals allowing members to serve. Being a good steward is something I have always strived for in my tenure as A90 Facrep and I hope I served my membership well. I will be passing the title of New England’s longest serving facrep over to Bryan Krampovitis (BDL ATCT) in January as I made to decision to not run in another election but rather help mentor A90’s next leader.  I have been privileged to serve as Facrep since taking over from my friend and mentor Andrew Blanchard (LWM ATCT Facrep) in 2013. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all A90 members, my e-board, my Regional team, the large Tracon Facrep group and NATCA National for supporting me along the way. My passion for NATCA will continue in my role as ARVP and I ask for your continued support as I am able to focus even more of my energy and dedication in this most important role.


Legislative Activism

From Andre Jean, New England Legislative Chair

Congressional Calendar:Congress will be in recess through the middle of November. This means the next time Congress convenes, it will be in a lame duck session. Please use the following links to see schedules for the House and Senate

Funding for the FAA:The process of actually getting money from the federal government to the FAA is done through an appropriations bill called the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill. THUD appropriations is separate from the Budget or the FAA Reauthorization bill.The current THUD bill (as well as every other appropriations bill) was set to expire on September 30 but Congress passed, and the President signed, a Continuing Resolution (CR). A CR is a bill that extends funding at levels as they were set in the original appropriations bill last year. The current CR extends funding through December 11. This means that funding is set to expire and needs to be renewed in a lame duck session. CRs are obviously preferable to government shutdowns but they have downsides such as a lack of flexibility for the FAA to spend their funding and also no new funding to account for any new expenses taken on by the FAA.

Fix for the Paid Parental Leave Act:A fix for this legislation has been included in the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Because it was held up in the Senate last time, the hope is that after the Senate passes their version of NDAA and the two bill go to conference to be made into one that our fix will be in the final version that will then go to the President for a signature. Here is a quick recap on the history of this legislation:Congress passed the Paid Parental Leave Act which provides federal employees with 12 weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) for qualifying events occurring on or after Oct. 1, 2020.Unfortunately, due to overseen flaws in the wording of this legislation, FAA controllers and some other sectors of the federal workforce were not included in this new benefit. It’s important to remember that this was NOT intentional, all of Congress and the White House wanted and still wants all federal employees to receive this benefit. In recent months a MOU was signed by NATCA and the FAA that provides controllers with this leave. Even with this MOU, it is important to NATCA’s Government Affairs staff to see it codified in to law and they are working very hard to accomplish this.

CARES Act:COVID-19 continues to present a risk to our membership and the efficiency of the NAS. The CARES Act contains many provisions that would help keep our membership safe and is strongly supported by NATCA. The House passed this legislation back in May but is being stalled in the Senate by partisan efforts. It remains unclear if this legislation, or any other COVID relief bill, will make it to the Presidents desk before the end of the year. Both sides seem determined to blame the other one for not having a deal heading into the election so perhaps serious negotiations will happen beginning the middle of next week. Hopefully, there will be more to follow on this soon.


Campaign 2020 – {Hatch Act Warning}

From Jamie Green, NATCA New England NLC Alternate

ONLY 2 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY!

This is our last update before the election! NATCA has currently logged over 9000 hours to support our NATCA majority. Thank you to each and every one of you that has taken the time to help make this Campaign 2020 so successful! If you haven’t signed up to volunteer, it’s now a sprint to the finish and we have something for everyone! 

The next 2 days will matter for years to come. We have to vote like never before! Please take the time to review your state’s voting information below and have a plan to vote if you haven’t done so already!

This is a quick reference to voting in New England. For more detailed information please go to:

NATCA.org/vote


NEW HAMPSHIRE

Same-Day Voter Registration – New Hampshire residents may register to vote at their polling place on election day.

Deadline to Submit an Absentee Ballot – must be RECEIVED by the town, city or ward clerk no later than 5PM on the day of the election, November 3, 2020. 


RHODE ISLAND

Voter registration has ended.

Early Voting Ends – November 2, 2020 

Deadline to Submit a Mail Ballot – must be RECEIVED by the State Board of Elections at 2000 Plainfield Pike, Cranston, RI 02921 by 8PM on Election Day, November 3, 2020.

MASSACHUSETTS

Voter registration has ended.

Deadline to Submit a Vote-By-Mail Ballot – must be POSTMARKED by November 3, 2020 and ARRIVE by November 6, 2020

MAINE

Voter Registration Deadline (in-person) – November 3, 2020

Deadline to Submit an Absentee Ballot – must be RECEIVED by the municipal clerk no later than 8PM, November 3, 2020. 

VERMONT

Voter Registration Deadline – November 3, 2020

Early Voting Ends –  5PM, November 2, 2020

Deadline to Submit an Absentee Ballot – must be returned to the town clerk’s office before the close of the office on November 2, 2020 OR to the polling place before 7PM on Election Day, November 3, 2020. 

CONNECTICUT

Election Day Voter Registration – Connecticut permits voters to register and vote in person on Election Day at a designated Election Day Registration (EDR) location in each town. A list of EDR locations can be found on this website.

Deadline to Submit an Absentee Ballot – must be RECEIVED by the close of polls (8PM) on Election Day, November 3, 2020.


Highlighted Monthly Actions

From Matt Murray , NATCA New England OSHA Rep

This month the Agency conducted a couple of Level 3 cleanings in buildings throughout the region, after employees tested positive for COVID-19. As positive cases seem to be on the rise in New England, it is critically important to follow the CDC guidelines about wearing a mask and social distancing in and out of the workplace. Wash your hands regularly and use 60% or higher alcohol based sanitizers when hand washing is not available. Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feets and avoid large crowds. 

You may have also noticed that some of the maintenance and technical projects have resumed in your facilities. As of right now, the only projects that are moving forward are exterior projects and critical infrastructure projects. The Agency is using a similar breakdown of COVID-19 positive cases per thousand, to determine if any projects can be completed as they are with returning to training. The Agency is still waiting to allow engineers back into the Air Traffic facilities to do any work which puts a hold on all interior projects unless they are deemed critical to the NAS. If cases go down, we will begin to see projects ramping back up. These projects should also be a regular part of your Local OSHECCOM meeting as well. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at Matthew.Murray@NATCA.net.


From Dave Chesley, NATCA New England NCEPT Rep

On October 5th, the parties at the national level jointly briefed a collaboratively developed OJT Recall plan. This plan outlines the recall requirements for facilities and Gating Criteria which were described in last month’s regional update and town hall. The National NCEPT committee was tasked with tracking Covid infection data nationally. Our data source provides infection risk categories, which we record every Saturday for the previous 7 days. Our tracker is submitted to the agency for concurrence every Monday morning.

At the joint briefing, facilities were instructed to collaboratively develop a facility recall plan and submit it for approval. The requirements for these plans were: The plan must comply with the provisions of the OJT Resumption guidelines; The plan must address the order of recall and should be done in an incremental approach such as recertification’s, followed by D3, D2, D1, and then AG; The incremental approach is based on the unique needs of each facility and can be sequential or a combination of the different levels depending on the number of trainees. Approval of these facility plans and meeting the Gating Criteria were necessary to initiate a recall.

Facilities that maintain a COVID Risk Level of yellow or green for two consecutive weekly updates, will be collaboratively reviewed by the Parties at the national level and in consultation with the Office of Aerospace Medicine, for a determination to initiate the recall of employees to resume OJT. Once a determination has been made, facilities will be notified by their DO/RVP to initiate the recall of employees to resume OJT in accordance with the facilities recall plan. In the event a facility was approved to recall employees and subsequently trends to a red or orange COVID Risk Level, the recall of additional employees at that facility will be paused.

National Numbers as of 10/26:
93 facilities eligible for OJT recall
176 facilities ineligible for OJT recall
44 facilities paused
**33 facilities were paused on 10/26, including 3 in NNE**


From Caitlyn Valeri, NATCA New England Election Support Rep

Election Support Committee October Update

This month has been pretty straight forward for local elections. Most facilities having uncontested elections. I am currently helping a couple of facilities through the processes. Most notable issue has been the use of FAA property for the election. We cannot use work mailboxes or lockers or other property for distribution or collection of election materials. I am here to help guide your local committee towards a compliant election, so there is less likely to be a contested election result. 

If you have any questions or issues about your locals election processes you can contact me through email at: cvaleri@natca.net


From Lisa Fulford, NATCA New England Training Rep

The last two months I have been working with Ed Angel (PVD), and we have been sharing information with ATMs and FacReps regarding the start-up of training and guidance regarding training. The FAA is collecting data on training, although the National Training Initiative (NTI) is on hold. We are currently receiving data on the number of hours trained in each facility, broken down by a trainee’s level in training. (ex. D1, D2, etc) For facilities that are on a Covid schedules the data does not represent an individual’s average, but an overall average for all trainees at the same level, per week. Therefore, Ed and I are working with management and NATCA reps to get a clearer picture of training in each facility. 

I am also tracking training within each NE facility, and will use the data we collect to help with future training, as well as provide information for any TRBs that may result. Information that is currently being tracked are: the trainee’s OJTIs, sectors/positions training on currently, number of reattainment hours used, new number of target hours, and positions certified during Covid schedules. The FacReps and/or their designee has access to the information, and have been inputting the data.

The week of November 9th, Ed and I will have another round of telcons with ATMs and FacReps to check-in and hear how training is going. We will help address any issues they may be having and answer questions they may have. We are waiting to hear from FAA and NATCA national about TSEW and other training that occurs at OKC, and will share details once plans are in place for training. We are also working with the district and national to schedule OJTI classess to train OJTI instructors.

You can reach me via email at: lisa.cyr@natca.net OR call me at: (505) 205-8610


Upcoming Holiday Card Contest



NATCA New England is having a holiday card design contest! Members areencouraged to have their children design the front of an ATC themed holiday card. The winning design will be used on actual holiday cards that will be sent out this holiday season. Send your children’s best artwork to NATCANewEngland@gmail.com by November 30th!














Voluntary Leave Transfer Program Information

Due to COVID scheduling, you may have an excess of “Use or Lose” leave at the end of this year. Why let that leave go to waste? There are numerous NATCA sisters and brothers in need due to health or family issues that need your help. Please consider donating your extra leave to someone via the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program.

You can find more information and FAQs about the VLTP by clicking here.

Click here to access the form to donate your excess annual leave.

In an effort to further support our brothers and sisters on the national VLTP, NATCA has established a new and easy to use section of the NATCA Member page specifically for VLTP, click here for access.


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