March 1, 2016 ARW Pay Day Hotline


ARW MEC Meeting Reminder



The MEC will be meeting in person in Herndon, VA March 7-9. Day 1 of the meeting will consist of Officer Reports, negotiating and membership committee chairman elections, and several briefs by key MEC members and Officers on various issues that are pending. Day 2 will consist of Committee briefs and several policy discussions. Day 3 will consist of briefings from ALPA National personnel, program briefings, and administrative items. All pilots are welcome to attend the MEC Meeting. If you’ll be in the Herndon VA area, and would like to stop in, email MEC Vice Chairman Thorne Saylor to coordinate.


Pilots who have issues they wish the MEC to consider can introduce agenda items through their reps at local council meeting. If the LEC reps approve the agenda item at the council level, it then can move to the MEC as an agenda item at an ARW MEC meeting. For information on how to craft an LEC/MEC resolution for consideration at a meeting, contact your local rep.



New Council 51 Reps Take Office



Today, March 1, represents the beginning of a new ALPA leadership cycle, with dozens of newly-elected representatives from a number of ALPA pilot groups taking office to begin three-year terms. This includes the leadership at ARW Council 51 in PHL. Capt. Bob Burgess is starting a new term as LEC 51 Chairman and Captain Representative, F/O Jared Alexa is stepping up as LEC 51 Vice-Chairman and F/O Representative, and Capt. Patrick Sheehy is joining the council leadership team as LEC 51 Secretary-Treasurer.


On behalf of the entire pilot group, the MEC wishes to thank Bob, Jared and Patrick for their willingness to serve, and salutes outgoing reps Carl Fleming and Matt Romano for their service over the past few years. The various webpages, contact lists and email folders are still in the process of being updated, so please accept our apologies for the rosters temporarily being out of date.



Council 49 FO Rep Election



As a reminder, the election for Council 49 (DCA) First Officer Representative is currently open, and will close March 10th 2016. If you haven’t done so already, log in to and select the green “BALLOT OPEN” icon on the right hand side of the screen to cast your vote. This election is open to all pilots in good standing in Council 49, seat position notwithstanding. It takes less than 30 seconds to log in and vote. Please make your voices heard in this very important local election.



R&I Committee: Company Benefits Audit



Over the course of the next month the Air Wisconsin Benefits Department will be conducting an audit of all dependents listed for medical/dental insurance. If you wish to retain the eligible dependents you have elected under your medical and dental plan, it is very important for you to respond to all requests from AWAC for documentation proving your dependent's eligibility. The request for information will be coming from an independent audit company, Willis Towers Watson.  Please follow the instructions carefully as outlined in their letter and return the information and documentation as instructed. 


Some of you may find it will take time tracking down documentation such as birth certificates, naturalization documents, marriage certificates, etc., especially if you are required to obtain this documentation from a country outside the United States.  If you will not be able to meet, or feel you'll struggle to meet the one-month deadline provided by AWAC to provide this documentation, it is imperative that you immediately contact the Air Wisconsin Benefits Department to work out an alternate plan.  Additionally, if you have any questions regarding the audit, please call the Air Wisconsin Benefits Department.


Many of you will have already been mailed a letter in early February outlining the audit process. That letter was simply a notification of the actual audit, which will take place during the month of March, from what ALPA has been told. If you do not have any dependents listed, you will not be receiving a notice of this audit.


Below you will find some questions that your ALPA Retirement and Insurance Committee asked regarding the audit. Please feel free to reach out to us as well if you have any concerns about this process. Audits of this nature are certainly not uncommon, despite the fact we haven't seen one at Air Wisconsin in recent times.


Q.  When a pilot sends in his personal documentation for verification, who does he/she mail that to?  Who will see that documentation: AWAC, auditing company, etc.? 


A. There will be a self-addressed stamped envelope that goes along with the letter sent by Willis Towers Watson (WTW).  This documentation is seen only by WTW and will be destroyed upon completion of the audit, so they note for people to send in copies not the original.


Q. What happens if a pilot does not self-disclose an ineligible dependent? 


A.  Employees included in this audit will have until the end of March to submit documentation, and if nothing is received by then, the company will make a final request that verification be sent in.  If documentation is not submitted at this point, the dependent will be dropped from the insurance plans.


Q.  What exactly will happen if/when a dependent's verification is not received on time?


A.  If a dependent verification is not returned at the conclusion of the audit, the dependent will be considered ineligible and removed from the benefit plan.  Again, if someone is unable to meet the deadline outlined in the letter from WTW, we would encourage having them to contact The Benefits Department to discuss further. 


Q.  If a legitimate dependent does not have proper verification in time, and is perhaps dropped from the plan, is there a way to get them reinstated prior to open enrollment next year?


The purpose of the audit is not to remove eligible dependents.  We believe the timing of the audit allows for a sufficient amount of time for individuals to respond.  However, we understand there could be circumstances that prohibit someone from meeting the final deadline.  If there are concerns, we would be happy to work with the individual. 


Q.  What happens if documentation gets lost in the mail?  Certified Mail?


A.  If there is concern with mail getting lost, certified mail is an option, however not required. 


Incidentally, ALPA recommends certified mail for mailing in your documentation.


Q.  Is there a warning period after the close of the audit in which dependents who have not been verified will receive notice of a pending loss of coverage,  i.e., one more chance to provide documentation?


A.  Yes, there are ultimately three letters going out.  The first was the initial amnesty letter (February), the second is the request of information (Beginning of March) and the third will be a last chance/reminder letter (near the end of the audit).



The ARW ALPA New Hire Pilot Mentor Program (PMP)

By Graham Hoff-Downing, ARW MEC Secretary-Treasurer


The ARW ALPA New Hire Mentor Program was created and developed in conjunction with the United Airlines Membership Committee and they share common goals. These common goals included the idea that New Hire pilots could benefit greatly from the input of experienced line pilots in key subject areas, in addition to the principle that we (ALPA) got your back. It is widely recognized that there is a gap between what pilots learn in initial operational experience (IOE) and the simulator and conducting the normal business of being a Part 121 pilot. Many day-to-day facets of an airline pilots’ life cannot be taught at all, but must be learned, including how to bid, flight planning, knowing the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or pilot contract, domicile peculiarities (such as parking tags), airline culture, and how to be a good union member. Filling these potential knowledge gaps is the purpose of the Mentor Program, whereby a mentor can provide assistance to those pilots who request it. The program is not mandatory and pilots will, to some degree, be driving the level of tutelage received.


Our airline and pilot group has a rich, complex, and colorful history that should be recognized by new members of the Air Wisconsin family. Mentor pilots can impart their knowledge of the airline’s culture and history, the various bases’ culture and history, normal and irregular operations, union business, as well as any other assistance with items that are not addressed in new hire training.


The New Hire Mentor Program falls under the umbrella of the ARW-MEC Membership Committee. The Membership Committee reports to the MEC Vice Chairman and the other ARW-MEC Officers. The program will be organized and administered by the Membership Committee. There is a New Hire Mentor Program Coordinator, who reports to the Membership Committee. Within the Mentor Program there are mentors and mentees.


The PMP was rolled out for the January 17, 2016 class and currently has 3 participants. If you would like, or know somebody that would potentially like to reap the benefits of the program, and you are within your probationary year, please contact Graham Hoff-Downing at or at 734-646-6797. We hope that, with time, the New Hire Mentor Program will become a cornerstone of the Air Wisconsin experience.



Membership Committee Chairman Wanted!



The Air Wisconsin Master Executive Council is currently seeking a highly motivated volunteer to fill the role of Membership Committee Chairman.


If you are interested in volunteering for this position, please contact MEC Vice Chairman Thorne Saylor at by March 4, 2016. Below is an excerpt from the ARW MEC Policy Manual outlining the basic duties and responsibilities of the Membership Committee Chairman.


Membership Committee:

a.   Composition: This committee shall have a chairman and members appointed by the committee chairman as necessary.


b.  Term of Office: The term of office of the committee chairman shall be concurrent with the term of office of the MEC Chairman.


c.   Scope:

i.          To be coordinator for membership activities in each domicile.

ii.        To coordinate a Program and Introductory Packet for educating new hires and nonmembers on the benefits of ALPA membership and to solicit their membership.

iii.       To coordinate activities with ALPA Membership Department and the Airline Analyst in Washington.


d.  Duties and Responsibilities:

i.          To keep the MEC informed on furlough or recall actions and the various actions that accompany these matters.

ii.        This committee shall consult and coordinate with the company in order to set up meeting schedules with returning furloughees and new hires so as to provide exposure to the maximum number of potential members.


Again, if you would like more information or wish to submit your name for this important volunteer role, please contact MEC Vice Chair by March 4.



Van Rides, Seatbelts, and Safety

By Tradd Gralak, ORF FO


As I write this I'm trying to think of a way to not sound like your mom, but it's hard not to seem over-protective when we’re talking about the topic of seat belts and van rides. Trust me when I tell you I’m nagging you for a good reason: I decided to write this article after a crew member I was working with was injured in a hotel van.


A few weeks ago my crew and I had finished our day of flying and climbed into the hotel van just like any other day. On this particular day, however, on our way to the hotel the driver somehow managed to take the van off the road and almost hit a telephone pole. The van skidded back onto the road as the captain was yelling “Watch out!” Thankfully we didn't hit anything, but, a crew member who wasn't wearing their seatbelt hit their head against the window and got a concussion.


In this particular case it is hard to tell if a seat belt would have prevented this person’s injury. But if the van had hit something, or rolled over when it left the shoulder of the road, they may not have survived.


This incident raises an important question: how often do YOU actually put your seat belt on when riding to and from the airport? That strap in between the second and third row of the van is there for your safety, not to just get caught around your neck when you climb out of the van. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that passengers in the back of a van who wear their seat belt are 78% less likely to be fatally injured in an accident than unsecured passengers.


As pilots, we are instinctively trained to use every safety feature available to us on the airplane, including the seat belts on the flight deck. It’s a well-known fact that traveling on the highway is many orders of magnitude more dangerous than flying in a commercial airliner, so why are so many of us ignoring the safety equipment in the van? You buckle up every time you’re in the airplane, so please do it in the van, too.



Bereavement Leave



Section 13 of the Pilot Contract covers different types of Leaves of Absence.  One of the more personally difficult absences to take is bereavement. Being on the road during the loss of a loved one can be tremendously difficult for both you and your family.


We want to remind pilots of the availability of Bereavement Leave, and the availability of union volunteers to talk to and who can offer advice about making that phone call.


Section 13 D states:


Bereavement Leave


In the event of the death of a member of the pilot's immediate family, i.e., spouse, child, father, mother, sister, brother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, or grandparents, the pilot will be entitled to funeral leave beginning with the day of the death to the day of the funeral inclusive, except if the funeral is in excess of 100 miles from the pilot's domicile, then the day after the funeral inclusive.


The length of the bereavement leave will not exceed

seven (7) calendar days. The pilot will be paid for the value of any trips and/or reserve days dropped. If the funeral occurs more than seven (7) days after the death, the pilot may request to split the bereavement leave. Such requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


Most often, pilots who are notified of a loss of a family member find that they are not likely to be in a condition to continue flying. Your priority should be to make the safe decision regarding removing yourself from flying so that you can completely focus on your family and what they need from you.


If you learn that a member of your immediate family has passed away, we encourage you to immediately call Scheduling and notify them that you will need to be placed on Bereavement Leave.  At that time, Scheduling will likely connect you with the on-call manager. You can expect every manager to offer their condolences and help facilitate the time off you need and any assistance they can provide to get you home.


We would note that as far as we are aware, neither the Chief Pilots, nor Schedulers have any type of formal training in grief or bereavement counselling. Just to make sure you know what to expect, we want to highlight that if you have a death in the family all you should do is make the initial phone call to the Company to notify them that you need to be removed from your assignment. In the very rare event that management mishandles or misspeaks on the call, please contact your Captain or First Officer Representative. They will be happy to ease some of your burden and help you work through any issues with management. This is a time of raw emotion and no one should be arguing with you. Any follow up calls can take place after a sufficient time has passed to allow the pilot to deal with the situation and loss. Remember as well that the MEC’s CIRP Committee is also there to provide a sympathetic ear and any help you may need.


Lastly, while certain types of Leaves of Absence like Medical, Maternity, and Jury Duty leaves require the pilot to submit certain paperwork, Bereavement Leave should not require any paperwork from you. However, your Regional Chief Pilot may submit forms on the matter for schedule coding purposes.



Save the Date—ALPA FFD Interview Workshops in April

This year, ALPA will offer several more events to help you navigate the pilot-selection process at your desired airline. If you plan to attend a workshop, don’t forget that the first step in career progression with ALPA is to fill out your career-progression profile.


Workshops are currently scheduled for Dulles (April 20, 21, and 22) and Denver (May 24, 25, and 26). Look for more information on registration in upcoming ALPA communications and at


Each event will include a presentation on what it takes to get hired and the best practices for successfully interviewing with a large-jet operator. The presentations cover an overview of the hiring process, tips on completing the application properly, background checks, résumés and cover letters, networking, interview questions, areas of concern, and common mistakes.


These workshops are designed exclusively for ALPA fee-for-departure members looking for tips on interviewing with the mainline carriers. You can register 30 days prior to these events. More events in other cities will be announced soon. Visit to learn more about how the Fee-for-Departure Committee is helping ALPA pilots with career progression.



Upcoming Dates

Feb 29 – March 3    ALPA Leadership Training Conference, Herndon

March 7-9               ARW MEC Meeting, IAD

March 21-23           Contract Negotiations, SAT

April 20-22             FFD Interview Workshops, IAD

May 24-26              FFD Interview Workshops, DEN