May 2023 New England Bi-Monthly Regional Update #1
From Mick Devine, NATCA New England Regional Vice President
We have spoken ad nauseum about our staffing numbers recently. While this project has been a goal of NATCA’s for more than a decade, the finish line is right in front of our eyes. President Santa has worked on this project for nearly a year, creating our goals, and more importantly, a detailed strategy to pull it off. We now enter into Phase Three of our battle.
The first two phases were simple: First, get the agency to agree that new numbers were imperative, with a CRWG workgroup to create a mathematical formula that was repeatable and defendable. Second, work with our friends in the House and Senate, along with industry, to garner support for the new staffing mechanism in order to fix the decades-long failures of the FAA’s current way of staffing our buildings. These two steps are complete. So, what’s next?
On Tuesday of this week, over 200 NATCA volunteers will be taking their own leave to attend NATCA in Washington (NiW). Our yearly ask will be centered around staffing. Here, we will have members, and more importantly, constituents, going door to door in the House of Representatives and the Senate to further hammer down the point that we need a new system. A system that actually judges staffing not on what some accountants think we can afford, but instead, what we actually need to perform all the tasks we have been assigned by the FAA, including tasks other than plugging in.
This is a very important step. While many unions, including NATCA, use paid lobbyists to spread their message, NATCA uses our members as aviation experts to pass along our message during our annual NiW. The reason this is such an important step is because when a lobbyist walks into an office, it is well known that they aren’t the day-to-day experts, but hired guns with expertise in messaging. NATCA, on the other hand, sends voting constituents to these offices. That is a very important distinction. Members of Congress perk up a little more when voting members of their districts show up to speak. It just simply hits differently.
NiW is setting the stage for the finality of this battle. If the NiW phase is a success, we could possibly see our CRWG numbers alone in the Controller Workforce Plan (CWP). Currently, our numbers are in the CWP, but they sit alongside the FAA Finance numbers. The FAA Finance numbers were historically the only numbers put into the CWP. The CWP is what Congress uses to make decisions on how to fund the FAA. Currently, FAA Finance considers the FAA to be 103% staffed. This failed process is the sole reason for our staffing crises. As our ATC brothers and sisters work shorter and shorter without severe incidents, FAA Finance moves the required staffing lower and lower as they believe we have proven our ability to work at this staffing level. This idea is categorically false.
Looking past NiW, we must survey the playing field to see where we sit. NATCA is prepared to put on a full-court press afterward with rolling lobby weeks. These are mini NiWs where we bring in members to again go walking door to door in the offices of our members of Congress. This will be utilized to finish the mission. We are almost there. If you have the time, we could use any and all of your help to finish this important call. Please reach out to your FacRep if you would like to join this important fight.
When we are eventually successful with this fight, we will need some time to feel the successes at the local level. BOS, A90, and Y90 will see these changes the slowest, as new hires are not put into these three buildings. However, our other facilities will also be delayed. We can’t just drop off a bus of CPCs at every facility. It will take time. Rich Santa has gotten a commitment from the FAA to move our hiring numbers to 6900 over the next four years. It will take time to get them hired and trained, but we will get there. Staffing could never be fixed overnight, but it will get fixed. Once we are done with this fight and begin to work off these new numbers, we can move on to the next most important issue which our members have made abundantly clear. But everything starts with fixing staffing, and with your help, staffing we will fix. It could never be the other way.
From Scott Robillard, NATCA New England ARVP
Hello NATCA New England.
Last month, I teased the data from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that I filed which requested all bonuses paid to all levels of management and the Air Traffic and Staff Support Bargaining Units within the Boston District for the calendar years 2021 and 2022. I also requested the amount of Compensatory Time and Credit Time worked.
Let’s start with Credit Hours.
When looking at Credit Hours, keep a couple of things in mind. If your facility builds and bids Compressed Work Schedules (CWS) 10-hour days, they can not earn credit. Also, if a facility uses a lot of holdover or call-in overtime, the Credit Hours will be lower.
First is 2021. Many facilities in the region were on “5 and 5” schedules and a few were on “5 and 10”.
Second is 2022. All facilities had returned to traditional schedules and normal work. Some positions were still in a remote work posture.
I have a few questions I would ask. But instead of me steering you, have a look at your facility and the Credit Hours earned. What do you think? Speak with your FacRep and send your questions to the Communications Team at NATCANewEngland@gmail.com. Next month, I will answer the questions received.
Also in our June 1st update, I will publish the Compensation Time earned. Keep in mind that Credit Time does not have a monetary cost to Agency Budgets. Comp Time, however, sits on the Agency’s books as an Overtime cost until it is used by the employee.
See you next month!
Labor Management Relations
From Nick Marangos, NATCA New England LR Lead, A90
The NNE Labor Relations team has begun a long-term transition to provide more support to individual facility representatives and ensure the best use of the wealth of resources on the team.
The first step in this plan was to develop a dedicated research team consisting of Hanan Wiseman (A90) and Joe Allen (ZBW). They take a deep dive into old cases, laws, and precedents that are similar to the issues we see in the region to best determine our plan. Before a grievance is filed, these two can work with FacReps to best design a strategy for Step 2 filings and oral arguments. If the Step 2 is unsuccessful at the facility level, the team continues by making a broad outline for the full team so that a decision to elevate to Pre-Arbitration review can occur. Prior to Pre-PAR, the full team meets to determine whether a grievance is strong enough to be elevated to PAR and the best course of argument.
Currently, Pre-PAR and PAR are almost exclusively argued by myself and ARVP Bryan Krampovitis. Moving forward, the hope is to expand the list of people that argue on the region’s behalf. The best way to continue to grow our Labor Relations skills is to expose as many as possible to the process.
Q1 PAR was postponed due to inclement weather until May 9th. There are seven outstanding grievances.
Q2 Pre-PAR is scheduled for the week of May 15th. There are currently nine outstanding grievances.
Important Hatch Act Change
The Office of Special Counsel has released the following memo regarding violations to the Hatch Act now that President Joe Biden has officially announced his candidacy for re-election.
From Mike DiFalco, NATCA New England Finance Rep, BOS
Thank you to Bill Cudney (ZBW) for his wisdom and leadership that has allowed me to seamlessly take over as the New England Finance Representative after he decided to step down late last year. Bill was a wealth of knowledge and I’m grateful to have learned from him. Welcome to Dave Provencher (MHT) who is now on the New England Finance Team as well.
Each year, all NATCA Locals are required to file tax-related documents with both the DOL and the IRS. The DOL deadline is at the end of March and every local in the New England region filed their forms on time. Thank you to all the FacReps and Treasurers who ensured these filings were done in a timely manner. We have just a handful of facilities that still need to file form 990n with the IRS. That deadline is May 15.
All facilities are audited by the Finance Committee every three years. This year, the following facilities are scheduled for financial audits: BED, BTV, DXR, EWB, GON, and ORH.
I will be reaching out to these facilities in the near future to get the ball rolling. Please don’t think of financial audits as a punitive process. We are there to ensure compliance with DOL and IRS requirements. If there are items that need to be addressed, we will educate you on the requirements and work with you to help bring those items into compliance. This is all about education.
From Lisa Fulford, NATCA New England Training Rep, A90
I would like to congratulate and introduce Karen MacCrate (ZBW) as your next New England Region Training Rep. Karen has an extensive background in ATC training, as she is an OJTI, a TRB representative, and OJTI cadre, and the current ZBW Training Rep. Karen has extensive knowledge of the 3120.4R, and understands the challenges training can bring to an individual as well as a facility. I am stepping down, as I would like to serve in a different role and learn something that is new for me. I appreciate your support and want to thank our leadership team for the opportunity to serve as the region’s first Training Rep. I look forward to helping Karen transition into her new role over the next few months.
The NTI workgroup met in March to discuss changes to the NTI dashboard, as well as review the training that was disseminated to the field in February for the new NTI “power app.” Facility training administrators and their union counterparts will now review the NTI dashboard via a website, and will upload information directly into the website aka the “power app.” They will discuss and agree upon impediments for individuals who do not meet the weekly hourly goals, as well as input a facility plan if they do not meet the goals for the week. The power app will store data for all FAA facilities, as well as hold facilities accountable for discussing and creating action plans. The district tracks the weekly impediment reports and reviews the facility’s action plan. I review the report as well as the district’s recommendations for improving training. This information is forwarded to the facility Training Rep and is kept as part of our records in our TEBW Training Google drive.
If you ever have questions, ideas or suggestions, please email us at TEBWtraining@gmail.com.
Region X Member Highlight
NATCA New England is highlighting NATCA Region X members who live and work within New England. Learn more about who your local Region X brothers and sisters are and what they do.
Jon Stanton – National Engineering Support; Engineering Services National Operational Risk Management Focal
“What I have been most focused on over the last year is the development and facilitation of Project Strategic/Tactical Operational Risk Management (Project STORM) workshop. This workshop brings together project implementers along with Technical Operations District and Air Traffic personnel to participate in practical exercises designed to improve our ORM skills during project implementation in the NAS. I also monitor unscheduled outages related to projects to collect and share lessons learned and identify trends that may need to be addressed more broadly by policy or training. I work closely with my counterparts in Technical Operations and Air Traffic to bring the Engineering Services perspective to national policy direction and decision-making.
I’ve gotten to know New England facilities very well during my 17 years in Engineering Services. I have worked at every ATCT and TRACON as well as every radar site. I spent a bit of time working at ZBW as well.
We all know that the NAS needs to be modernized and sometimes the projects we undertake to do this can be very intrusive to the facility. As project implementers, we never want to surprise that controller on position with an unexpected outage of their equipment. With the work that we have been doing on ORM, I like to think that not only are those outages happening less frequently, but when they do happen, they are not a surprise. We have had the right discussions and everyone that is working that day understands what could go wrong and what they need to do if that outage occurs.”
Please scan the QR code or click to RSVP if you plan to attend so we can get an accurate head count!
Do you work with someone who inspires you, motivates others, and demonstrates professionalism day-in and day-out? Don’t let that individual go through their entire career without getting recognized.
Nominate them for the 2023 NATCA National Professionalism Award! Award recipients will be selected from each service area and will receive a trip to Communicating for Safety to be recognized for their professionalism. Anyone may nominate a member in good standing for the award. There is no limit to the amount of nominations for one individual (we recommend you encourage additional nominations from peers, management, pilots, etc. submitting their own statements, stories, and examples in support of the individual). In order to nominate you will be asked to provide a brief work history on the individual, as well as provide examples and statements showing how the individual inspires, motivates, and demonstrates professionalism in the workplace.
The deadline for nominations is June 1, 2023.
Nominate your peers at www.natca.org/professionalismaward
Think back over the last year as the time for Archie League nominations has come! The Archie League Award exhibits, “…a variety of aviation “saves” — some which involve a team of controllers working together, while others are the result of one controller’s efforts.” This is the chance to cite our colleagues that remained calm under pressure, handled complex situation well, and were exemplars of our profession. While many will say they were “just doing their job” this is the opportunity to highlight these controllers.
Nominations are open for the 19th annual Archie League Awards, for the best saves that occurred at your facilities between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. Submissions must be received by May 15, 2023. The Awards will be presented at Communicating for Safety (CFS), which runs September 18-20, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV.
For more information and to access the nomination form, please visit https://www.natca.org/community/awards/
For more information on CFS visit www.natca.org/CFS