The success of the collaborative partnership between NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration extends into the area of Professional Standards. The Purpose of the Professional Standards Program is to provide an opportunity for employees to address performance and/or conduct of their peers.
Collaborative workplace environments are strengthened by a collective focus on maintaining the highest levels of professionalism. NATCA and the FAA have developed an array of different collaborative programs under the umbrella of what we call the Foundations of Professionalism. Recognizing that these programs are all related, NATCA and the Agency have worked to build synergy between them. This synergy and collaboration harnesses the collective strength of the employees to help modernize and improve the National Airspace System, and enhance the work life and productivity of employees.
ARTICLE 52 PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS PROGRAM
Section 1. The Parties at the national level shall maintain a Professional Standards Program (PSP). The purpose of the PSP is to provide an opportunity for bargaining unit employees to address performance and/or conduct of their peers before such issues rise to a level requiring corrective action(s) on the part of the Agency.
Section 2. The Parties at the national level agree to maintain a joint National workgroup. The workgroup will consist of three (3) bargaining unit employees, selected by the Union at the national level, and three (3) Agency representatives. National PSP workgroup members will be on duty time, if otherwise in a duty status, and will be entitled to travel and per diem in accordance with the FAATP and this Agreement.
Section 3. When determined by the National PSP workgroup, facilities will combine with other surrounding facilities to create a District Professional Standards Committee (PSC). There shall be a chairperson of each District PSC, as appointed by the Union. The Facility PSC will be comprised of bargaining unit employees only, as appointed by the Principal Facility Representative or his/her designee. There shall be a chairperson of the Facility PSC, as appointed by the Principal Facility Representative. The Agency agrees that PSC meetings are to be conducted on duty time, generally not to exceed two (2) hours per pay period. Additional time may be granted, upon request, for committee members unless staffing and workload do not permit. It is the responsibility of the PSC chairperson to inform the manager of the need for the committee to meet.
When the National PSP workgroup identifies the need for training for designated PSC member(s), they will be afforded sufficient duty time, unless staffing and workload do not permit, to receive the training, if otherwise in a duty status, and will be entitled to travel and per diem in accordance with the FAATP and this Agreement.
Section 4. The PSC may accept performance and/or conduct based issues from other bargaining unit employees, management officials, or other credible sources. The acceptance of an issue is at the sole discretion of the PSC. Participation in this program is completely voluntary and all parties involved must agree to participate. The committee may identify and recommend other means for improving professionalism and safety.
Section 5. The National PSP workgroup will maintain records of how many issues were brought forward, how many were accepted, and the number that were resolved, in accordance with the Professional Standards Policy Manual. An acknowledgement that the issue is resolved or unresolved will be made available to the individual reporting the event.
Section 6. The Agency may elect to use the PSP as an alternative to disciplinary action under Article 10 of this Agreement. Issues submitted to the PSC shall not be addressed through other means or raised in the future to support other disciplinary actions, if the PSC reports that the issue is resolved. The Agency agrees not to refer to the PSP in any discipline or other administrative action.
Section 7. PSC members shall be provided access to relevant data concerning a reported event. A PSC inquiry shall not be used by the Agency as a triggering event to begin an outside investigation. The Agency shall not pursue action against an employee after the PSC has received an Agency submission and prior to adjudication, unless the issue is the subject of an ongoing or current investigation, involves gross negligence, is a criminal offense, or is brought to the attention of the Agency by means other than the PSC inquiry.
Section 8. The National PSP workgroup shall meet to review the effectiveness of the PSP annually. This review will include items maintained by the National PSP workgroup in Section 5. Based upon this review, the Parties agree to jointly modify the program to ensure the goals of the PSP continue to be met. Lessons learned, generic in nature, will be distributed, as deemed appropriate by the National PSP workgroup, to the workforce. Employee names or identifying information shall not be used.
Section 9. This Article does not constitute a waiver of any right guaranteed by law, rule, regulation, or contract on behalf of either Party.
ARTICLE 114 COLLABORATION
Section 1. The Parties agree that in order to lay the foundation for the aerospace system of the future and to make a difference for our stakeholders, while addressing the challenges that a changing industry presents, we must harness the collective strength of our employees. To that end, the Parties agree to work collaboratively to modernize and improve the National Airspace System (NAS), and to enhance the work life and productivity of employees.
Section 2. For the purpose of this Agreement, collaboration means both Parties taking responsibility to engage in meaningful dialogue with their counterpart(s). This includes making a genuine effort to ensure that both Parties’ interests have been identified and as many as possible have been addressed before an outcome is determined. Through collaboration, the Parties share a common respect for the rights and responsibilities of the Union and the Agency. Collaboration shall be not construed as a waiver of any Union or Agency right.
Section 3. The Parties agree that it is mutually beneficial for the Union to be involved in workgroups established at the local, regional, or national level to collaborate with the Agency to accomplish the objectives identified in Section 1. Further, it is in the best interest of the Parties to resolve or minimize any issues so as to ultimately provide for more timely resolution.
Section 4. When either Party at the local, regional, or national level, identifies a need for a workgroup(s) to accomplish the objectives identified in Section 1, they shall promptly notify the other Party as to their desire to establish a workgroup(s).
Section 5. When the Parties agree to establish a workgroup(s), they will collaborate on the scope of the workgroup, which shall be defined in writing and communicated to each member prior to the commencement of business. At a minimum, scoping documents will include the number of workgroup participants, designation of co-leads, and the extent to which the workgroup is empowered to make decisions or recommendations. Separate scoping documents may be developed by the workgroup co-leads to establish and empower subgroups, when appropriate.
Section 6. Workgroups will include bargaining unit employees designated by the Union, in consultation with the Agency. Employees shall be in a duty status for all workgroup activities and shall be afforded sufficient duty time to travel for meetings and related activities. Union designated workgroup members and/or representatives will be provided access to the same information as any other workgroup member.
Section 7. Workgroups established by this Agreement will make decisions or recommendations by consensus. For the purpose of this Agreement, consensus is defined as the voluntary agreement of all representatives of the workgroup for a particular outcome. If the workgroup is unable to reach consensus, the co-leads are authorized to reach agreement. Agreements reached by the workgroup(s) shall be reduced to writing and
shall be binding on both Parties, provided they are within the defined scope. If the co-leads are unable to reach an agreement, either Party may pursue whatever course of action is available in accordance with Article 7 of this Agreement, the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statue, and any other law, rule, or regulation.
Section 8. When either Party identifies a need for a national representative(s), they shall promptly notify the other Party. When the Parties at the national level agree that there is a need for a national representative(s) to accomplish the objectives identified in Section 1, the Union shall designate the representative(s), in consultation with the Agency. Employees serving as national representatives shall be in a duty status unless otherwise agreed to by the Parties.
Section 9. When a national representative is established, the Parties will collaboratively identify, at a minimum, the following: the specific duties to be performed; location of the position; the duty time necessary to meet the responsibilities; and the anticipated duration of the assignment. If the Agency has determined that Extended Temporary Duty Travel Tax Reimbursement Allowance (ETTRA) will not be offered, employee temporary duty travel shall be for periods of less than one (1) year. These agreements shall be reduced to writing for each national representative position established.
Section 10. Within ninety (90) days of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties at the local, regional, or national level, as appropriate, shall meet to review existing workgroup scoping documents to ensure compliance with this Article. Until the review is complete, the Parties agree to maintain the existing workgroups and associated scoping documents.
Section 11. Within ninety (90) days of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall meet to review the national representative positions not identified in this Agreement. Until the review is complete, the Parties agree to maintain the existing national representatives.
Section 12. Within ninety (90) days of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall meet to establish/review written agreements for the national representative positions identified in this Agreement.