Region X Telecon Notes & Monthly Update | November 2020
| A Message from Our Region X RVP, Brad Davidson|
HATCH ACT WARNING – DO NOT OPEN WHILE ON DUTY OR WITH GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT
Hello Region X Brothers and Sisters –
Happy Thanksgiving and Stay Safe –
The recurring message this year, like ground hog day – is that this has been one strange year for all of us to deal with and I hope it is not indicative of a new normal. I miss seeing everyone from coworkers to friends to extended family and look forward to the day when we can meet face to face once again. This holiday season presents us with another challenge to remain personally vigilant to contain the spread of the virus while longing for some sort of normalcy. I encourage all of you to take all available precautions and make the continued sacrifices to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities. I wish you all good health and a happy holiday break.
Government Funding beyond December 11th
The House and Senate appear to have an agreement to complete an omnibus spending bill rather than a continuing resolution. The white house has been uncharacteristically quiet on its position to agree with funding the federal government past December 11th. The chief of staff has indicated that the white house is supportive of keeping government running but nothing is off the table including a potential shutdown. We are hoping that upon the return of the Senate from break next week that there may be movement towards funding the federal government beyond December 11th and into the next congress. So, with the uncertainty we have experienced in the past over funding bills, even those that appear to be straight forward, brace yourself for something unexpected including a potential shutdown. I am sure we will all have a much clearer forecast in the next week to 10 days.
For additional legislation issues that impact our professions please see the end of this message for further information.
Elections and Legislative Activities Continue.
We all anticipated that the election season would be over by now, but similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year continues to throw us curve ball after curve ball. There are two senate runoff elections in Georgia. NATCA is involved with our boots on the group program and already have some of our retired activists on the ground in Georgia – most of which are staying in their campers. They continue to do some of the most influential work we can with their legislative activism. Our Region X Campaign 2020 volunteers will again be ramping up phone and text banking with essentially a get out the vote effort. How do these seats impact NATCA? The Biden administration will be attempting to fill their own government appointees, many of which will require senate confirmation. We will be impacted by the Department of Transportation Secretary nomination as well as all of the labor positions including the FLRA, MSPB, etc. While other elections across the country have concluded and the Hatch Act is in the rear view mirror for most of us, those involved with or residing in Georgia, please continue to keep politics out of the workplace – even while working remotely – the Hatch Act continues to be relevant.
Collective Bargaining Agreements –
As they say in real estate – location, location, location. We have a parallel in labor – timing, timing, timing. I will have more to share with our Region X NATCA representatives soon and our December call we will discuss some specifics and strategy. I will be reaching out directly to many of our members so do not be surprised if you see 517.940.2828 on your caller I.D. Pick up that call because you very well may have some insight that will influence our future and I am looking for your thoughts as members of this union.
A Loss of one of our NATCA family members at the national office –
It is with deep sorrow that NATCA shares the news of the passing of Cheryl Cannon after a brief and sudden illness. Cheryl joined NATCA in 1991 and was NATCA’s longest serving employee. She was the receptionist at the front desk of NATCA for many years, and, most recently, the Senior Membership Services Coordinator. Cheryl was a valued and integral part of the NATCA team for nearly three decades, and she will be dearly missed by her many NATCA friends and colleagues. Cheryl was also the loving mother of her children, Justin and Michelle, to whom she was devoted. In addition to her children, Cheryl had a deep love for dogs and took pride in her passion for training and showing dogs at competitions. For any of you who had the pleasure of speaking with or meeting Cheryl you know we will miss her dearly. For those wishing to contribute financially to Cheryl’s family, a GoFundMe account was set up for them. Click here: Cheryl Cannon Go Fund Me
Happy Birthday Region X – from Don Schmeichel, Local ENM NATCA President
In addition to November 10th being the birthday of both the United States Marine Corps and Sesame Street, it is also the 23rd anniversary of the first Region X bargaining unit, ATO Engineers and Architects (E&A). After the the election in October, on November 10, 1997 the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) certified the E&A unit for Airways Facilities engineers in the nine FAA geographic regions, and NATCA as our exclusive representative.
We organized locals in each of the FAA regions. Needing an identifier for our locals, we used Engineer with the region ID and ENM (and the other eight locals) were born. It took several years and a couple of NATCA conventions for us to be officially designated as Region X (NRX), the 10th region of NATCA.
Over the years, we added other bargaining units and locals to our NATCA family. Aircraft Certification, Airports, and Finance (AFN) employees were added. When the ATO Service Centers were formed, we represented the Engineers in the new organization and added the Staff Support Specialists, Aviation Technical Systems Specialists and Flight Procedures specialists.
Several of us still remain as charter members of the E&A unit. Many of the same issues still exist today that affected our employees back then. Our representatives continue the struggle to work with our employer to improve and protect our working conditions. Our union has stood strong through the revolving door of agency management and initiatives. One entity always represents our employees as political winds blow one direction or another–NATCA.
I encourage all of you to take the NATCA 101 course when available if you haven’t already done so. You can register on the NATCA portal (portal.natca.org) under Events, NATCA Virtual Academy. This gives an excellent history of NATCA. It is offered on the 15th of each month.
Thanks to each of you who have made the decision to be part of our NATCA family. Your membership gives you the ability to help guide our future to improve your working environment. Thank you!
Veteran NATCA Local ESO President & E&A Representative Retires: Our long time representative in Atlanta and E&A charter member, Neil Bolen, retired from the FAA in the second week of November. We congratulate Neil and thank him for his career of service to the FAA, his local and NATCA.
Legislative Update from our November National Executive Board meeting
Appropriations — On September 30th, the U.S. Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) by a vote of 84 to 10 that provides short-term funding for the government through December 11th. It was then signed into law by the President before the funding deadline. The CR was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 22nd. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will continue to function as normal until at least December 11th, at which point another funding bill must be signed into law to avoid a government shutdown.
CARES 2/HEROS ACT — Despite lack of progress, both chambers of Congress and the White House continue to negotiate on a COVID-19 relief package. Without a consensus on a broader package, several partisan, slimmed-down versions of aid packages have advanced through the legislative process in both chambers from both parties.
NATCA continues to stand in solidarity with our aviation union sisters and brothers as thousands of furloughs and layoffs went into effect earlier this month in the absence of a coronavirus relief deal. Just before the September 30th deadline in which airline worker relief expired, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., tried to bring a standalone aid bill (H.R. 8504) for airline workers to the House floor, which NATCA strongly supported. Unfortunately, it was ultimately not considered and thousands of aviation workers remain subject to layoffs. Similarly, on the Senate side, Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020. The legislation would, if enacted, extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 2021.
Paid Parental Leave — NATCA continues to work to ensure that 12 weeks of paid parental leave for FAA employees is codified in law for both current and future FAA workforces. Specifically, NATCA is seeking a technical correction to fix the loophole that inadvertently excluded FAA employees and five other federal employee workforces from the 12-week paid parental leave proposal enacted last December as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 (FY 20 NDAA; P.L. 116-92). NATCA has successfully secured the technical correction in the House version of the FY 2021 NDAA bill, which is now headed to “conference” with the Senate version of the legislation. A final NDAA bill must be agreed upon in Congress before being signed into law by the President. Separately, NATCA’s staff is advocating for bipartisan compromise legislation being led by Senators James Lankford, R-Okla., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., that would also provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave for FAA employees.
Aircraft Certification Legislation — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are seeking changes to the safety culture at the FAA and the process that certifies aircraft following the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. As such, legislation has been introduced in both chambers relating to aircraft certification reform. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed a bipartisan bill (H.R. 8408) on September 30th, which NATCA supports. The Senate Commerce Committee has introduced its own version of certification reform legislation, S. 3969, which NATCA also supports. The committee has not yet advanced the legislation. NATCA will continue to provide feedback to lawmakers as they work to address the issues. (H.R. 8408 passed the House on 11/17/20 and S. 3969 passed committee on 11/18/20).
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Vacant – Reloaded
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