April 2022 New England Bi-Monthly Regional Update #1
From Mick Devine, NATCA New England Regional Vice President
NATCA in Washington is in the rear-view mirror. It was another knockout job by our volunteer army in New England. Led for the first time by a new NATCA President, and new NATCA Legislative Committee Chair, and a new New England Legislative Chair, this event was another smashing success. Kudos to New England Legislative Chair Jamie Green for a job well done in her first NiW in the head seat.
During the election, we talked about the three hooks of NATCA—NATCA in Washington, Communicating for Safety, and the Convention. These three large events are great ways to energize new members to NATCA at the national level. That experience is integral in opening up the eyes of our members to all the possibilities of ways they can effectively control their own future and the futures of their brothers and sisters. There is so much opportunity throughout this organization regardless of your interests: tech, labor relations, legislative, safety, training, and more.
The National Executive Board had to start planning this year’s NiW during the surge of the Omicron variant, which led us to the decision to limit the number of participants. While New England has always punched above its weight class legislatively, we decided to leave our most experienced members back at home to allow new members a chance to experience this event with the hope we can continue to grow our army. New attendees from ZBW, PWM, PVD, and BTV not only showed up—they shined!!
We have midterm elections on the horizon and the FAA Reauthorization bill coming up next year, so we must continue to build those strong bipartisan relationships to ensure we are protected in that potentially dangerous and potentially prosperous bill. We have heard for years that we’d rather be at the table than on the menu. This is that opportunity. While aviation safety is as bipartisan an issue as you can find, Washington D.C. is not anymore. History would say that these mid-terms will swing the power from the Democrats to the Republicans, therefore it is crucial we continue to build and foster our relationships on both sides of the aisle.
We have so many opportunities to get involved coming up this year. The future of this union and our profession is bright, but like anything, it needs attention to remain viable and successful. The exit from COVID (and hopefully winter) is upon us, masks are off, training is full throttle, staffing will begin to rapidly rise across the NAS.
The New England leadership team will be making our rounds throughout the region soon with a Joint FacRep meeting with the Eastern Region in Boston in May, a Joint FacRep and ATM meeting in Nashua in June, and a regional NATCA Academy class later in the year. We are also working on a possible region-wide Solidarity event at the NASCAR race in New Hampshire along with some Fisher Cats games! We will be sure to keep you updated on these events and we look forward to seeing you soon.
From Scott Robillard, NATCA New England ARVP
Hello NATCA New England! This month I want to address unionism and representative democracy.
Representative democracy is a government system that creates an extra stage between public votes and the creation of laws. Instead of voting for laws, citizens elect officials to craft, debate, and sign laws. The idea is that citizens trust those elected politicians to carry out the will of those that elected them.
The United States Constitution defines representative democracy as our system of government: every two years, we go to the polls to vote for representatives to act on our behalf. This occurs at all levels of government, from local school boards to the President of the United States. As citizens, we win some and we lose some. We debate, we challenge, we donate money, and we advocate for elected officials that represent our views.
A U.S. citizen receives the right to vote via citizenship, and losing this right is a big deal. Normally, you need to be convicted of a felony to lose the right to vote. Every state is slightly different, but in most states, you may get the right to vote back.
Does everyone vote in every election? No, of course not. There are a lot of Americans who only vote in presidential elections or only vote when there is a candidate they really like or a candidate they really don’t. But if you want a fight, try to take their right to vote away and see what happens!
Unionism is defined as the principles, theory, advocacy, or system of trade unions. NATCA, like our government, is a representative democracy. We hold elections at all levels, from your local Facrep to the President of the Union.
By law, NATCA is required to consider the opinions of non-members for those issues where the Union holds sole control, such as seniority. At every NATCA convention where seniority is up for debate, non-members have a right to present their views. On all other issues, such as those subject to negotiations or the advocating of Congress, non-members forfeit their rights.
As a federal union, membership in NATCA is not required by law. However, it is through membership that critical decisions are made about the direction, vision, and mission of our Union, such as selecting leaders and crafting policy.
To be ineligible to vote in a union election, all you must do is fail to be a member. However, the effect of this choice is a forfeiture of your voice and your influence that would otherwise help determine the direction of NATCA, our organization, and its leaders.
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 (+0 from March update)
2022 Q2 Pre-PAR
The second quarter regional Pre-Pre-Arbitration Review (PAR) meeting is scheduled for April 26-28.
For the 18 months, I have been part of the A90/K90 S804 realignment oversight and implementation team, which was formed at the direction of FAA Boston District General Manager Bob Jones and NATCA New England ARVP Scott Robillard.
Along with my FAA counterpart, Ed Angel, we have provided structural oversight and District-level support to the many components of the project, which has included software design, modification, and implementation; the creation and change of multiple LOAs and SOPs spanning facilities Region-wide; hardware modifications and physical changes/relocations; A90 control room position merges and changes; formation and subsequent implementation of the findings of multiple CWGs; and thousands of hours of CPC and supervisory staff training.
I’m happy to say that because of the extremely hard and capable work of A90 Facrep Nicholas Marangos, his team, and his implementation counterparts, including FAA Air Traffic Manager Coleman Hartigan, the group is now nearing completion and will be terminated in May.
While there are still many ongoing projects internal to A90 (such as additional re-distribution of airspace), the cornerstone tasks required to support a successfully functioning, merged facility as required by the Congressionally-mandated S804 realignment legislation are complete.
A90/ZBW Airspace Implementation
Last summer, ZBW and A90 held a joint CWG to address inter-facility airspace changes as a function of the A90/K90 S804 realignment process.
The findings of this group directed both ZBW and A90 to make multiple airspace changes in and around their common boundaries in addition to significant procedural changes. These changes will require changes to both STARS and ERAM software and will trigger modification of SOPs as well as extensive front-line employee training.
Due to the success of the A90/K90 S804 realignment oversight and implementation team, the Boston District and NATCA have directed the creation of an A90/ZBW airspace implementation team. A kickoff meeting for this team will be held today.
From Steve Schefcik, NATCA New England Professional Standards Rep, PWM
On the RESPECT side, our region overall is doing better than most. We have 3 facilities completely done with the briefings and all the others are at or beyond halfway through so thanks for all the great work to help make this happen!
ProStandards-wise region-wide things have been pretty quiet overall. We have a few new PS Reps within the region that just recently finished training. I would like to personally welcome both Nicholas Monahan from BED and Paul Kelly from PVD to the team and thank them for stepping up and taking on the new role at their facilities. This also now means every facility in the region has a PS Rep so if anyone ever has any questions be sure to reach out. As always you can also reach out anytime to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or refer to the “Professional Standards Committee” page on the NATCA website for information.
That said bigger facilities are allotted to have multiple PS Reps and some facilities still have vacancies. We have people at those facilities that have been selected however are still awaiting a training class. There are multiple training classes coming up so we hope to get the vacancies filled as soon as possible.
Is there someone in your facility that inspires, motivates, and demonstrates professionalism both on and off position? If so, please be sure to nominate them for the National Professionalism Award. Anyone can nominate a member for the award with no limit on the amount of nominations received by a single facility, region, or service area. A winner will be selected from each service area and awards will be presented by the Professional Standards program at Communicating for Safety later this year so get those nominations in! The deadline for nominations is June 1st, 2022.
If you have any questions regarding the National Professionalism Award or the RESPECT or ProStandards program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
RT 1 Update
From Kevin Curtiss, ZBW Area A Representative
Hello NNE. I had the opportunity to attend The RT1 Class in the middle of April, and I’d like to share my thoughts on the experience. Over four and a half days, Our CBA was unpacked via PowerPoint, discussions, and briefings to the tune of what was described as “The 80% you see every day”. It was beyond beneficial. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about this stuff. The class was engaging. It challenged your thinking and went beyond the contract. It was great to be refreshed on the history of our organization, briefed on how The NCEPT process works, and see our Union’s tireless efforts to collaborate and educate on the many things NATCA advocates for its members. We benefited from Three RVPs and our EVP Andrew LeBovidge making an appearance and speaking. During instruction, one item stuck out in Article 6 (Representation Rights) Section 4. Suppose there are facilities in NE where managers have an open-door policy or an increased number of instances where non-members are having discussions with management. In that case, it is a violation of the contract. Per A6S4, The Union shall be given advance notice and the opportunity to designate a representative to attend any formal discussion. Think of it this way, if it isn’t a discussion about causal current events, A Weingarten Meeting (which the UNION does not have a right to attend, but a BUE has the right to representation) or performance, then the Union shall be advised. To wrap up. RT1 is a great class, and I would urge any Member to attend. There are still three classes open for registration in 2022.
From Jamie Green, New England Legislative Chair, PVD
NATCA in Washington (NiW) 2022
NiW was a huge success, thanks to the more than 300 attendees! NNE was represented by 15 members, with 6 of those members being first-timers. NATCA activists rose to the occasion, climbed Capitol Hill, and advocated for our membership with passion, dedication, and solidarity.
NATCA is very engaged on Capitol Hill, and this year was no different despite the challenges COVID protocols presented. Our activists were able to play an influential and vital role in delivering NATCA’s message to Congress! While activists come from 10 different regions all over the country, we come together as one voice and one union at NATCA in Washington.
The Ask: H.R. 4042
- Maintain Funding and Prevent any Proposed cuts
- Ensure Stable & Predictable Funding Stream & Support the Aviation Funding Stability Act (H.R. 4042)
The Contract Act has passed through committee in the Senate. There is an uphill battle to get this attached to the upcoming FAA Reauthorization Bill, which will come up next year. While we have been getting bi-partisan co-signers to the bill, leadership does not support it due to the cost. NATCA is still advocating for this bill, and while our attempt to get it attached to the Defense Authorization Bill this past year was unsuccessful, we will continue to advocate for this important bill going forward.
I would like to recognize our New England Region Legislative Award winners:
MA State Legislative Coordinator
BOS Facility Rep