January 2023 New England Bi-Monthly Regional Update #1
From Mick Devine, NATCA New England Regional Vice President
I hope each and every one of you were able to enjoy the holiday season with your families one way or the other. We come to the end of another year, and all in all, it was a very productive year. There was an increase to OJTI pay of 10%, a historic first step in the fixing of our staffing numbers, a brand-new Activism and Training Expo (ATX), two separate workgroups tackling the affordability problems on Nantucket, millions of dollars shifted into training so we can handle the large influx of new hires at the academy and at the facilities, just to name a few.
We finish the year with a great group of FacReps who have been working their tails off representing you. We have seen another year of productive sustainments garnered by your regional LR team, even through a pretty robust change in the makeup of the team. New LR Lead Nick Marangos (A90) teamed up with new LR Coordinator Carrie Cassano (BDL) to pick up right where Scott Robillard (A90) and Kyle Szary (ZMA) left off. With the addition of Hanan Wiseman (A90) to the newly established LR Research team, the new team has been restructured to give us the best chance of success in the coming years.
Safety Rep Seth Myers (ZBW) and Regional Safety Mentee Nick Cassano (PVD) have really done a magnificent job in getting our facilities where they need to be with all the safety requirements that are put onto us. Seth worked very hard to get NATCA’s Safety Advocacy Training into the region and we were able to train two dozen New England members to bring that knowledge back to their facilities.
New Professional Standards District Chair, Steve Schefcik (PWM) had a tough time getting up and running due to COVID and no classes being provided, but once he was able to take the class, he hit the ground running and did a great job of getting the Professional Standards program back to where it needs to be. He did this all while simultaneously implementing the Respect Campaign throughout the region.
Lisa Fulford (A90) and Karen MacCrate (ZBW) have remained zoned in on our regional training. We continue to be one of the better training regions while trying to maintain a mantra of productive training, not necessarily maximum hours trained. Also, we have seen an increase in certifications in New England this year. Kudos to them both for their hard work and commitment to the goals.
Mike DiFalco (BOS) and Dave Provencher (MHT) have taken over for Bill Cudney (ZBW) as he moves on to bigger and better things. Bill created one hell of a Finance Team in his time as chair of New England. His ability to continue to educate our treasurers so our audits are routinely clean has been second to none. When he was given Mike Difalco as a mentee, he brought him up to speed quickly and made Mike an integral part of the regional team, and more importantly, allowed a quick and easy transition when the inevitable time of stepping away happened. Good luck Bill in your next journey.
Jamie Green (PVD) and Nick Monahan (BED) have been working their tails off building on the great work Andre Jean did, creating the most robust group of activists we’ve seen in this region in a long time. From Campaign 2022, to getting the Contract Act language into the Omnibus, to promoting and creating Congressional and Senator facility visits. These visits give us an opportunity to show our representatives an up and close view of what we do, and even more importantly, an opportunity to explain the needs of our members and organization.
Shannon Lyman (ZBW) continues to run a magnificent communications team doing so much for this region behind the scenes. This team is on full auto-drive and continues to put out great labor-related content tailored to the survey she sent out a few years ago asking how you wanted to be communicated with.
Jake Detwiler (ZBW) works on behalf of the region on NCEPT and has risen to stardom nationally due to the work he does for the team. Jake continuously creates robust programming that far exceeds the full-time team the FAA has employed to create a similar product. This has never been so evident as when we go to the panels and the FAA people on the team ignore their own team and ask Jake for help.
Matt Murray (ZBW) has been educating the reps on our OSHA issues within the region. Matt’s OSHA knowledge is amazing and we all lean on him for his expertise when these issues arise. We need more expertise within the region in OSHA, so if you have an interest in assisting Matt going forward, please let us know.
Steven Spiller (BOS) has spent the last few years assisting our members with COP COVID issues to ensure our reps and members who contract the COVID virus are properly protected. We have been very successful in lining our members up to be in a perfect spot to receive these benefits.
2023 will bring us new FacReps at MHT and PVD. A special thanks goes out to long-time MHT FacRep Dave Provencher and PVD FacRep Nick Cassano for all of their time and energy they put in to bettering their facilities and the region. Both will be missed but will be involved in different areas as Dave has taken over for Mike DiFalco to be the Finance mentee and Nick continues his work under Seth Myers as the safety mentee.
On January 15th, we will be announcing the 2022 Curt Fischer Leadership Award and the Jay Bowers Activism Award. We are excited to announce these new winners and get to their facilities to give them their awards in person. Have a wonderful, safe and prosperous New Year.
From Scott Robillard, NATCA New England ARVP
Happy New Year NATCA New England.
Looking back on 2022, it was a good year. While nothing ever goes exactly as planned, I am proud of the work that the NATCA New England team has put in and I am grateful for our accomplishments.
The past 3 years have been very challenging and facility representatives and their appointees have risen to the occasion. As I look around the region, I see new faces in many positions. The LR Team has been turned over and new leadership has taken hold. Bryan Krampovitis has taken over as the primary point of contact for the Boston District. New members have been added as mentees as those mentees promoted into lead roles. It is a plan that started 4 years ago and if you take a step back and look at the whole picture, you can see the change and the growth. Congratulation to all of you who have accepted the challenge!
Know Your Rights!
What is Harmful Error and how does your CBA deal with them?
Harmful Error is covered in Article 10 Section 10 of the CBA. It is an expansion of existing public law. Under the law (click here for the full law text), if the Agency’s imposes an Adverse Action on an employee, it cannot stand if harmful error is discovered. Your CBA expands that right from just an Adverse Action to all discipline. That is a major expansion of rights that are only possible through Collective Bargaining!
Here is some suggested reading for the new Reps starting January 1, 2023 (or for anyone else who is interested):
From Curt Fischer, Collaboration Facilitator, Eastern Service Area North, A90
A warm greeting of “Happy New Year” is offered as we turn the page of our calendars over, invoking an opportunity for a fresh start. We are compelled to speak to our goals, hopes, and dreams for the coming year. Many invoke a New Year’s resolution as an effort to verbalize and commit to them over the coming months. Our gaze towards these possibilities brings a sense of excitement.
Concurrently with the look forward, the exclamation, invites us to look back at our journey through 2022. We began 2022 with a renewed spread of COVID cases. While we all had hopes of returning to normal it would take a good portion of the year to transition to being back to in-person for much of our work.
Your 8 regional TRB Reps turned up their efforts in 2022. As a group, they participated in 18 TRBs in 2022 up from 13 in 2021. 8 NATCA volunteer TRB representatives did an outstanding job of protecting the process for our members with a goal of ensuring that all opportunities for success were provided to them. The team continued to track and share data from each review board in an effort to ensure fairness and discover trends. Two new TRB reps were on-board in the past year, Kurtis Fotheringham (PVD) and Carrie Cassano (BDL). Looking forward to 2023 as reps move on to other areas we hope to continually be able to bring new TRB reps on board. Please reach out to your FacRep if this is an area you are interested in helping NATCA New England in this important area.
In 2022 we held a combined Eastern/New England regional FacRep meeting in Boston this past May, allowing for the continual growth of knowledge and solidarity among our NATCA ranks. Education of our membership was a theme through 2022 and ended the year with our first-of-its-kind expo in December, ATX. Look for this trend of investing in our members to continue in the coming year.
The in-depth Regionally scoped A90-ZBW CWG continued making steady progress in 2022 with two phases being successfully implemented in May and December and with the completed implementation of the workgroup’s findings in 2023 as the goal. Being able to conduct multi-facility collaborative efforts is a skill we hope to continue to improve on in the future.
As your Collaboration Facilitator, my counterpart and I look forward to continuing to advance collaboration in New England. We had a successful 2022 where we moved from conducting Collaborative Skills Training (CST), Interested Based Communication (IBC) training, and Collaborative Health Assessments (CHA) away from virtual to in-person. We provided IBC training for all leadership pairs at Boston Center and look to begin 2023 with Collaborative Skills Training for BDL, Y90, PVD, MHT, and A90. Remember it is through this agreed to process (see Article 114) that we harness the collective strength of our employees to modernize and improve the NAS and enhance the work life and productivity of employees.
From Lisa Fulford, NATCA New England Training Rep, A90
It’s hard to believe we have just completed our first full year of training since being authorized to train again! We had several successful controller certifications across NE Region in 2022 and in the past few weeks we have had several members achieve position certifications which brings them that much closer to CPC status.
Overall, NE Region met the goals of the NTI consistently in 2022. The weeks we were unable to achieve the goals of the NTI were usually due to annual leave, sick leave, or trainees being used for staffing. There were weeks where COVID leave was the largest impediment to training, and as we get further into the winter months, I expect we will see that again.
One of the other impediments that has occurred in a few facilities more recently is “not enough OJTIs.” NE Region has several OJTI courses scheduled in January 2023, which will help address the needs as well as create more opportunities for training. Seasonal traffic facilities are implementing other types of training during the slower period to try and help keep trainees’ skills sharp.
There will be other types of training that will be available as well as implemented in 2023. The National OJTI cadre team will be traveling the country again to train OJTI cadres. We have quite a few in our region now, however, if you are interested in becoming an OJTI cadre instructor please let your FacRep and Training Rep know. Also, facilities will have to be trained on TEAM, the new electronic interface for training. Several facilities have already been trained and are using TEAM, and the remaining facilities are currently receiving training before the March deadline. There will also be Recurrent Training workshops in the near future for the next round of Recurrent Training, and most facilities always need volunteers to facilitate the training.
With training successes, there are also instances of training failures. One of the main goals I was tasked with was to improve training across our region by working with Training Reps in each building and providing education and support when needed. Our leadership team understands that we will never be able to eliminate TRBs, however, we have a goal to decrease the number of TRBs in the NE Region as well as to track the reasons why there is a breakdown in someone’s training. Over the last couple of years, we have been tracking the data as well as analyzing the TRB training packages. We have been working with facility management to improve the training process, as well as helping to fix the problems and issues in training that continue to appear in TRBs.
As we begin 2023 and continue striding towards the goals of the NTI as well as establishing a new way of documenting training, I want to ask all of you to speak up when you have an idea on how to improve training in your building and/or when you see that the 3120.4R is not being properly applied. We all have an important role in training the next generation of controllers as well as helping those trainees to become the best CPCs they can be. As always, the Training Reps welcome your feedback and ideas at TEBWTraining@gmail.com.
From Seth Myers, NATCA New England Safety Rep, ZBW
As Air Traffic Controllers, we all hold Safety as our top priority. NATCA NE has fostered this by providing our members with knowledge and understanding of the processes and systems that aid us in providing unparalleled service. We provide this service every day to the military, air carriers, and more importantly the people who trust us to get them safely where they need to go!
NATCA NE can look back on 2022 as a year of not only growing our safety team throughout the region but also sharpening the knowledge our membership needs to further our safety culture.
In 2022 NATCA NE hosted its first-ever Safety Advocacy Training. This course provided background and knowledge of the different safety programs, processes, and requirements we operate within. Safety Advocacy Training armed almost 2 dozen members of New England from many of our facilities with in-depth information about processes and procedures linked back to not only MOUs and orders but 17 articles from our CBA. How processes like, Partnership for Safety (PFS), Individual Performance Management (IPM), ATSAP, and many others are designed to run parallel to each other, but often get mixed together, or completed incorrectly. In the days spent covering this information, there were many discussions and exercises developed to have those NATCA members bring back information to our facilities in New England.
In 2022, NATCA NE has developed a network of communication platforms and avenues for our facilities to communicate with each other. Through the use of the TEAMs platform Facility Safety Reps and FacReps have a monthly safety telcon where each facility is represented. We use this time to pass national safety content, provide clarity on a particular safety process, or work problems together for solutions as a group. These monthly meetings provide a conduit for facilities to communicate with each other to voice concerns or pass on lessons learned. We now have a NATCA New England Safety list serve that gives another line of communication for our facilities and leaders to communicate and disseminate critical safety information to each other.
NATCA New England Safety in 2022 has focused on increasing the number of safety-conscious leaders and members at our facilities through knowledge and expertise. We have come a long way in 2022, we must continue to grow our Local Safety Councils and increase our participation in the systems and processes that keep our national airspace system the safest in the world.
NATCA Benefit Spotlight
This year, we will be focusing on highlighting the various benefits that are available to our members!
The NATCA Benefits Committee has worked hard to coordinate many discounts and promotions for our members, and we want to ensure you know all about them!
If you want to get more information about all of the benefits afforded to you as a NATCA member, head to www.natca.org/benefits.