March 2022 New England Bi-Monthly Regional Update #1
From Mick Devine, NATCA New England Regional Vice President
A good leader surrounds themselves with good people. A great leader surrounds themself with “non-yes people”. This allows them to hear opposing views and make the best, most informed decisions. What does that look like in reality? How do those discussions go?
A union is a team sport that requires an “all-in” mentality, and at every level of this organization, the same mantra continuously shows itself: cuss, discuss, and get on the bus. Your local NATCA leaders have the opportunity to partake in this type of leadership, and you see it within the leadership of the Region, your FacRep, the LR team, as well as the NEB. So, what does it actually mean?
I have always asked my ARVPs to challenge me—and expect to be challenged—in the same way. To think we agree on everything is comical; rather, we challenge each other with opposing views, concerns, possible pitfalls, etc. Don’t tell me why I’m right; tell me why I am wrong. We discuss a topic, we argue, and we work through it. We have robust discussions which can often be lengthy. In the end, we come up with a strategy and when we leave the meeting, regardless of how the discussion went, we all walk away as one team with one singular message.
At some point, we have all had to carry out messaging for a position of which we don’t necessarily agree. It is not an easy place to be: naturally, people don’t want to argue with those whom, deep down, they agree. But that is our role and our responsibility to the NATCA members we represent. The one thing we would never tolerate is any of our leaders saying “it wasn’t me; it was them.” That rhetoric can undermine a decision and cause strife amongst the membership. Our team ran on the phrase “Leadership Through We” which means we make a decision and we carry out and support the messaging and the position. All of these positions are voluntary and you can resign anytime if you don’t like this staple of leadership.
When you get to the NEB, we quite often go into closed sessions, which are personal and classified; only the results of the sessions are published in the minutes. Any solicitation result is done this way along with large-scale decisions. I have certainly had my time on the wrong end of some 11-1 votes as well as my time on the right side of those votes. Every RVP’s messaging to the membership and reps is always the same, regardless of which side of the vote you are on. You always have your chance to voice your personal and professional views on every issue and you’ll have the opportunity to sway other members of your team. In the end, the vote tally will be what it is and you carry out that message.
Each leader has their own view based on their surroundings. Whether they are the FacRep of a large TRACON or center, or a mid-level up/down, their view or the views of the members they represent will craft their position. When you get to the NEB level, geographical entities play a part as well. We always walk into the meeting as a group of individuals attacking an issue and we always come out as one single unit. It’s much like your hand in a fight: you have five individual fingers which can only do a certain amount of damage. If you bring them all together into a clenched fist, that’s your best opportunity to be successful and do the most damage.
From Scott Robillard, NATCA New England ARVP
Hello NATCA New England!
Let’s talk about “oversight”. The definition of oversight is to provide watchful and responsible care or to provide regulatory supervision. Part of the role of a leader is to provide oversight to those things that fall under their areas of jurisdiction.
Two examples of this in New England are the Regional Training Representative and the A90 S804 Realignment Oversight team.
The Regional Training Representative position was created via a scoping document that was signed by the Boston District General Manager and the NATCA New England ARVP on June 27, 2019. The agreement was later amended on September 14, 2020. The focus of the group is to analyze and maximize regional Air Traffic Control training.
Since its inception, Lisa Fulford (A90) has served in the Regional Training Representative position and has met with the Agency on a routine basis to help give NATCA a voice at the Region level. She helps review and analyze data and provides collaborative insight and direction to facilitate improvements that benefit NATCA members at the facility level. She and her counterparts provide critical context and correction to the data that is briefed up to the District by the Air Traffic Managers.
To those of us who have been in training during COVID, it has been infuriating and frustrating; and we understand that. With that being said, it is difficult to quantitate how “bad” things could have been if we did not have engagement at the District level. From where I sit, we are all better off because of the hard work that this group has put in compared to where we would have been without the joint oversight.
The A90 S804 realignment oversight and implementation team group is assigned to oversee the completion of the K90-A90 realignment. This group is not scoped, but rather is assigned by the Boston District GM and NATCA New England ARVP. Keep in mind that certain segments of the Agency would like to say that this project was completed on February 18, 2018, when K90 transferred airspace from Otis ANGB, MA to A90 in Merrimack, NH. But as anyone who is remotely aware of realignments will tell you, the “cutover” is not the end of the project; rather, it is barely halfway to completion.
Kyle Szary (ZBW) was assigned to this group and, along with his Agency counterpart, were tasked to define all outstanding A90 S804 realignment items/issues that needed to be resolved, track their progress, and facilitate their completion. After two years of work and four years post-cutover, this group is closing in on completion. While there will always be work that needs to be done, regional oversight of internal facility work will be discontinued in May.
What’s next? The Boston District GM and NATCA New England ARVP will be kicking off a deployment oversight group to facilitate the implementation of the District-scoped delegation of airspace joint facility CWG between A90 and ZBW. This CWG worked for more than three months last year to redefine the A90 terminal airspace (lateral and vertical) and hours of operation by geographical area. All SRMs have been completed and the CWG will be closed out. This new oversight group will facilitate the implementation of the CWG findings at ZBW and A90 and ensure that the needs of both facilities are met as each phase of the CWG findings are implemented. Curt Fischer (A90) will serve as the regional appointment.
Labor Management Relations
From Kyle Szary, NATCA New England LR Coordinator, ZBW
The current Regional PAR-level grievance snapshot is as follows:
1 grievance [ZBW] slated to be addressed during the second quarter Pre-PAR meeting
1 TOTAL (+1 from February update)
2022 Q2 Pre-PAR
The second quarter regional Pre-Pre-Arbitration Review (PAR) meeting is scheduled for April 26-28.
From Matt Morgan, NATCA New England Organizing Rep, BOS
March 1st brings us the first action date of the 1188 process. Each year, Bargaining unit employees who no longer feel they need to pay their fair share for NATCA representation, submit form 1188 to the agency, which stops their dues from being paid. Once filed, beginning the first pay period to start after March 1, dues will no longer be collected from those employees. After this final report of the 1188 forms after March 1st, NATCA is notified and then begins the process to reach out to these members.
Contrary to popular belief, NATCA will usually reach out to as many 1188 members as possible, via the FacRep of each building. As a FacRep, you should be reaching out to any potential non-members and discussing their interests and why they plan on leaving the Union. Many times, after these initial discussions, members change their minds about canceling their dues payments.
After this process (about 30 days), the National Organizing Committee (NOC) may then reach out again to the 1188 employees. The NOC will try and gather data as to why these members no longer want to be members anymore and will explain that in many cases leaving the bargaining unit may be counterintuitive to the issues they may have. The NOC member may reach out personally, or help the FacRep hold the conversation with the member in question. This second phase of the process would be about 15 days, for a total of 45 days since the March 1st action date.
Now that dues may be in arrears for 45 days, the National Office will reach out. This notification that dues are 45 days in arrears from the National Office serves as the final notification as well as an invoice for the unpaid dues. Failure to remit payment within 30 days of this notice, will result in the member being expelled from the union. For what it’s worth, it is not the 1188 form that requests removal from NATCA, but the failure to pay a fair share in dues for the collective that results in expulsion from NATCA moving forward.
From Bill Cudney, NATCA New England Finance Rep, ZBW
Once again it is the time of year when all Locals need to file their financial forms with both the DOL and IRS. All Locals need to file a form with both organizations every year, and the form varies on the amount of dues income they receive each year.
The majority of New England locals file the abbreviated LM-4 form, and a few are required to file the LM-3 form with the DOL. If your local receives more than $10,000 per year the LM-3 is required. LM forms should be completed by March 31st.
For the IRS there are also different forms required depending on income. The 990N e-postcard is filed by almost all of our locals here in New England. It is a simple straightforward form that can be completed in just a few minutes. If the Local receives more than $50,000 of income in a year, they must file the 990EZ form. The EZ is not appropriately named, because it is a long and confusing form. All 990 forms are due May 16th.
The National Finance Committee is holding several webinars on how to register for accounts and fill these forms out:
- March 4th at 1pm
- March 11th at 1pm
- March 15th at 2pm
Even if you are not a treasurer or a FacRep, it is an interesting webinar to see what’s required of your local every year. These webinars can be signed up for in the NATCA Portal.
From Matt Morgan, BOS Facility Representative
Articles 2, 3, 4, and 6 all discuss representational rights, rights of union officials, and employee rights in our collective bargaining agreement. What does this boil down to for the Facility Rep and the NATCA member? When are we afforded the opportunity to union representation, and what rights does NATCA have to be involved in any formal meeting with an employee and a member of management?
Article 2 defines and explains the FLRA decision to recognize NATCA as the sole representing body of the employees of the bargaining units described in this section. This article clearly establishes the counterparts at the facility level. Section 3 specifically states the principal facility representative, or their designee, is the only person in the building who will deal with the air traffic manager, or their designee. To reiterate, the ATM of a facility should not be holding any conversations or discussions with any bargaining unit member other than their counterparts. Any conversations they do hold should be limited to general conversation and not facility business. It also goes on to say that the union may designate a rep for a particular tour of duty or shift. This designee would be the sole representative to deal with the first and second-level managers for the duration of that shift. Article 2 goes on to describe the rules of meetings between management and union designees, addressing the meetings must be held in equal numbers of management/union participants and that these meetings must be held at mutually agreeable times.
Article 6 discusses what most of us may have heard called “Weingarten” meetings. Section 1 of Article 6 mandates that the agency notify an employee in advance of the subject matter of a meeting when it pertains to an investigation or situation which may lead to discipline. The agency will also notify the employee of their rights to have union representation present for said meeting, as well as give the employee the opportunity to confer confidentially with union representation prior to the meeting taking place.
Article 6 section 5 then addresses “formal meetings” between management and employees. Any formal meeting could be any discussion of workplace conditions or procedures, or anything beyond casual everyday conversation. As the sole representational authority, NATCA has the right to be involved with any formal meeting held between any bargaining unit employee or member of management. This is to protect the FLRA ruling that NATCA is the sole representative body. For example, if an Operations manager holds daily conversations with the outgoing mid-shift employees asking how the shift was going. With these conversations, the OM then proposes that mid-shift staffing would be amended based on the conversations with these employees and not involving NATCA representatives or designees. This could very likely be an Unfair Labor Practice by the agency, as they were holding formal meetings without the involvement of the legally designated representational body, NATCA.
Our individual rights and our collective rights as a Union are solidified in federal law, through the FLRA, and within our Collective Bargaining Agreement. These rights and the many others contained in our CBA are the backbone of what we can use to promote a healthy work-life balance for bargaining unit employees, and in turn, maintain a safe, and efficient National Airspace System. The rights that many before us fought for, are what will protect us for years to come and allow those of us maintaining and operating the system to have skin in the game when operational decisions need to be made.
Join our Team!
The NATCA New England Communications Team is looking for 1-2 new members! If you enjoy communicating via social media, making custom graphics, or just want to help ensure members in New England get the most up-to-date regional information, you’d be a great fit!
If you’re interested, please reach out to us at NATCANewEngland@gmail.com or talk to your FacRep.