June 2022 New England Bi-Monthly Regional Update #2
From Bryan Krampovitis, NATCA New England ARVP
Benefits For Summer Fun
I wanted to highlight some of the benefits available to NATCA members for summer fun to enjoy with family and friends.
NATCA members have a variety of benefits available for theme parks in the area. For example, you can purchase tickets to Six Flags New England in Springfield, MA, for 50% off. Take a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Boston for 30% off. The water park at Six Flags New England is great for a hot day and included with general admission.
NATCA also has great deals available for trips to Disney. There are airfare and hotel packages available, along with individual park passes through workingadvantage.com.
A little-known travel benefit available to our members is the great prices on last-minute cruises available via interline travel, a company only available to airline employees, that provides DEEPLY discounted cruise rates. These rates are discounted so much they warn that disclosing the rate you paid to other passengers could cause brand damage to the cruise lines and cause NATCA to lose its eligibility to participate in the program. The more flexible your dates are the deeper the discounts available. I have seen rates so low it is cheaper to take a trip than to stay home and buy food and run the AC!
If you haven’t been on our benefits page in a while, log into the members’ section, and click benefits. The links to all these entertainment options, along with all the other benefits exclusively available to NATCA members are listed on the members’ side of the website, along with the directions to book these trips with our discount. Enjoy the summer everyone!
From Curt Fischer, Collaboration Facilitator, Eastern Service Area North, A90
Last week’s Collaboration Skills Training class was attended by a wide range of facilities. On day one of class, my Agency counterpart and I focused on employee involvement and interest-based communication. After defining “collaboration”, we asked the participants, “To list what behaviors highly collaborative people exhibit?” Invariably, someone added ‘good listener’ to the list of traits written on the screen. This time, however, with recent feedback in mind, the addition of the trait ‘listener’ to the list made me evaluate if NATCA New England is doing all we can to work on listening?
Communication is one thing. Bi-monthly updates, weekly FacRep meetings, national updates, and a well-run communications team do an excellent job getting the word out. But what about your expectations with listening? The traditional structure for listening is channeled up from membership through the local executive board to the facility reps. Social media, texts, emails, and phone calls round out how we listen. Still, the perception exists that when decisions don’t fall a certain way that listening has faltered. So, for the next few updates, I want to make use of this space to listen.
Click on the link here and add your thoughts and ideas and I’ll use them for topics in this collaboration update column.
Spotlight on Legislative Activism
From Jamie Green, NATCA New England Legislative Chair, PVD
In New England, we have some of the strongest relationships with our Congress members throughout NATCA. Over the past few months, many restrictions lifted, allowing our NATCAvists to return to in-person events! I wanted to highlight a few of these events and thank everyone who attended, who helped coordinate these events, and also each of you who worked a little harder to cover the boards to help us maintain these relationships.
New Hampshire State Legislative Coordinator Jeff Aulbach attended a fundraiser for Rep. Annie Kuster at the TD Garden at Game 7 of the Celtics- Milwaukee Bucks series in late May. At the event, Aulbach was able to thank Rep. Kuster for her steadfast support of NATCA over the past several years. They also discussed the need for stable funding for the FAA and the upcoming FAA Reauthorization Bill that will be upcoming in the next Congress. Rep. Kuster supported NATCA’s efforts during the recent passage of the Infrastructure Bill and was a co-sponsor of HR128
On May 4, 2022, two congressional staffers from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s (ME-01) office took a tour of PWM. Coty Sherer set up this familiarization tour after having interacted with the office regarding trouble obtaining a passport. Mrs. Leslie Merrill and Mrs. Sarah Lawrence were shown the facility by Shaun Patten ATM(A) and Coty Shearer. They asked many questions regarding our local operations and the challenges we were currently facing with the construction project on the main runway 11/29. We explained how our procedures have changed from normal operations and what we were doing to limit the impact of this project on the surrounding communities. They were very impressed that we had devoted so much time and made many changes for the betterment of the community. They asked questions to controllers on position to understand better what each position in the facility is responsible for. When the tour was complete, they again expressed their sincere gratitude for the opportunity and our never-ending commitment to the flying public’s safety. “Mrs. Merrill and Mrs. Lawrence were wonderful to be around and were extended invitations for future visits should they want one. I am glad I was able to meet them and show them around the facility, and more importantly, I am grateful for the friendships we forged in the process.” Said Coty Shearer.
“My wife and I represented NATCA and Providence (PVD) ATCT attending two events for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
The first event was a small gathering in Providence at the residence of Sally Lapides and Art Solomon. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spoke about ‘out of cycle’ campaigning, climate change, and dark money. Already targeted by the Republican Party, the Senator has started campaign fundraising two years early. He is expecting some intense competition in his 2024 election campaign. After his brief speech, Senator Whitehouse fielded questions from the intimate crowd ranging from Presidential elections, gas prices, the war in Ukraine, and his Ocean PAC. Afterward, we secured some time with the Senator to request a photo, ask questions regarding the Infrastructure Bill, and invite him for a tour of the facility.
Later that week, we attended a larger event at the Cranston Yacht Club. Congressman Jim Langevin introduced his good friend Senator Whitehouse. This event didn’t offer a Q&A session, but it did include a history lesson about the Gaspee Affair delivered as a poem by The Senator. After the festivities, we had a personal conversation with Senator Whitehouse, who remembered us from the previous event six days before.
We consider these two events a success. Our job attending these events is to represent NATCA and continue building a good rapport with our leaders in the Senate and Congress. We ensured the Senator felt comfortable reaching out with questions regarding air traffic, the facility, or anything pertinent to our membership. I encourage you to contact your facility’s legislative representative, state coordinator, or NNE NLC Rep Jamie Green and ask how you can participate in the next event.”
Nicholas Cassano, PVD Facility Representative
From Steve Schefcik, NATCA New England Professional Standards Rep, PWM
The ProStandards program continues to be utilized more and more all around the NAS by both controllers and management. As the program continues to grow, so does the need for more PS committee members. In response, the PS National Team has been averaging one training class a month for the last few months, and will continue into the next fiscal year. Below is an image of the latest training class that just finished in Anchorage, AK this past month.
The class not only included Air Traffic, but also Flight Service and Region X, and tripled the number of PS committee members in Alaska alone! As of now there are nearly 450 PS committee members nationwide and growing every day. Our region has been fairly quiet as of late with PS cases, but as always be sure to reach out to your facility PS rep or myself at PS.BOS@natca.net with any questions or for more information on the program!
From Seth Myers, NATCA New England Safety Rep, ZBW
If you were to hear the term SRT, would you know what it was? In this safety update, we would like to discuss what a Services Rendered Telcon is.
The definition of an SRT in the JO 1030.3 is a telephone conference conducted with the ATO Safety Event Response Group, the Director of Operations, Mission Support Staff, Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, Operations Control Center, the involved Facility, and others as needed to review and assess ATO services associated with a significant or noteworthy event.
An SRT is intended to give all participants a snapshot of the conditions surrounding the event in question. This information may include but is not limited to staffing levels, weather, training, unusual circumstances, etc.
An SRT is NOT intended as a forum for the Agency or Union to assign fault or engage in a debate regarding differences of opinion. In situations where there is a difference of opinion, those topics will be discussed outside of the SRT in a collaborative manner.
When determined that an SRT will be conducted, the SRT FAA/NATCA MOU states that the NATCA National Safety Rep and the affected Facility Rep, or their designee, shall be invited and afforded the opportunity to participate. The Agency shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that the National Safety Rep and the Facility Rep are notified of the scheduled SRT as soon as practical. The Facility Rep or the designee shall be given the opportunity to participate in the SRT. The Agency will not delay the SRT if the National Safety Rep, the Facility Rep, or their designee are unable to participate.
An SRT is just one of many processes involved in post-event analysis. A post-event analysis that we as NATCA have the right to be involved and present to ensure that what is relayed is accurate.
From Nick Marangos, A90 Facility Representative
Collaboration is a powerful tool in our tool belt. It has led to some amazing successes for this Union at every level. It is so important to our Union that it comes up almost 40 times in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. I say all this to lessen the shock when I say the next thing:
Sometimes collaboration isn’t the smart option.
There are usually no huge “wins” with collaboration, or if there are, the effects don’t feel like a win. There is no fight in the process. If done correctly, both parties should come out if not happy then at least not mad about the results. It involves sacrifice and mutual benefit. Collaboration can sometimes feel like co-management, which it isn’t.
Management, and to some extent Union Representatives get comfortable with collaboration. It can solve problems in a relatively quick way instead of dragging out an ugly Article 7 (Mid-Term Bargaining) process that can take many months.
Sometimes management likes to pretend to collaborate when they really have no intention of doing so. This can rear its ugly head in many ways, but the most common is “I’ve received district guidance to do X”. If you think that doesn’t sound right, it’s because it isn’t. It is unfair to the collaborative process to come at problems in that way, and that is where a decision must be made. Do we fix this fast, or do we hold all to account the contractual language?
Undoubtedly, lots of these problems can be solved by a quick call to an ARVP or the RVP, but I don’t think that is always the appropriate option. Sometimes, the fight is needed. Sometimes, management (and the Union) need a reminder that we will fight to uphold our Contract and its provisions. Words matter and actions have consequences. This Union was not built on collaboration, despite our fight to get there whenever we can. This Union was built on fighting for what is right and holding the Agency and ourselves accountable.