April 1, 2016
In This Issue:
Q Negotiations Update
Q Resignations and Sick Calls
Q Event Review Safety Program
Q ATC Reporting and FAA Letters of Investigation
Q Rest Rules 117.25: how to figure out pilot’s rest
Q ALPA District Advocate: My Story
Q Upcoming issue of the Wiss-key
Q Upcoming Dates
By Bob Burgess, ARW Negotiating Chairman
On March 21-23, your negotiating team flew down to San Antonio, TX to meet with ARW management and the NMB mediator. In addition to ALPA Sr. Labor Relations Counsel David Holtzman, also in attendance from our team were ALPA Economic and Financial Analyst Cory Tennen, negotiating members Bob Burgess, Graham Hoff-Downing and Reed Donoghue, and MEC Chairman Chris Suhs.
Your negotiating team discussed the history of the rejected TA, the reasons why the TA failed, and laid the ground work for what we need moving forward, including potential fixes and economics. No formal proposals were made at the bargaining table this round, and we expect negotiations to continue with tentative dates May 18-20, 2016. Please stay up to date and active in the process through reading all of the X-Rays (the negotiations newsletter), listening to any podcasts that are published, and reading the Pay Day Hotline. For more details on last week’s session, listen to the weekly ARW podcast and watch for the X-Ray this Friday.
Resignations and Sick Calls
By the ARW MEC
As we continue to see our pilots able to move on to other airlines, we are reminded that there are some important things to think about when you resign from Air Wisconsin.
Š While we have an FAA obligation to be fit for duty and you should definitely call out sick if you are ill, there are some things to consider before calling out sick after giving your two-week notice. Please be aware that the Company may exercise their contractual right to request a doctor’s note for all sick calls that occur after a pilot turns in their resignation notice.
Š While there surely should be a presumption of legitimacy when a sick call is made, calling out sick during the last two weeks of employment may cause the company to consider the potential misuse of the sick policy. Of course this won’t be an issue for valid sick calls, but should there be an investigation which results in disciplinary action, your PRIA record may be affected. It is not unheard of for a pilot who accepts a new position at an airline to be pulled out of new hire training as a result of a PRIA request coming back with previously undisclosed and/or adverse information in it.
Š Lastly, you should consider that the contract requires you to provide a two-week prior notice of resignation in order to obtain a payout of your accrued vacation.
Your ALPA representatives are here to help you to protect your careers. We want to make sure everyone is aware of how their decisions as an employee at Air Wisconsin could negatively impact their next step, whether that be a move to Delta, United, Hawaiian or another industry altogether. As always, if you have any questions as to the process of leaving Air Wisconsin, please call your ALPA representatives.
Event Review Safety Program
By the ARW MEC
The MEC has fielded many calls from pilots about their rights and responsibilities regarding the AWAC Safety Department’s Event Review Program. Although ALPA was not directly involved in the inception, development, and implementation of this operational enhancement program, we have been kept in the loop through our Central Air Safety Committee (CASC). The CASC receives notices of all event review calls and event debriefs. Feedback from line pilots and members of the MEC has also been taken directly to the Company for process improvement.
ALPA continues to stress the importance of partnering with the Company to improve safety through programs such as these and enhancing process effectiveness by encouraging the use of ALPA resources such as our Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP) personnel when the situation dictates. Additionally, pilots always have the right to contact an ALPA representative prior to, during, and after an event review call to discuss any concerns they may have about the process, the event itself, or to seek representation.
Of particular note with this program, the Company has designated the captain to be the single point of contact for the entire crew during the event review process. As such, it is imperative to discuss as a crew prior to an event review conference call whether any crewmember is not fit to continue flying after an event or has any concerns about continuing to fly that day. Moreover, any member of the crew may contact CIRP for assistance or an ALPA representative to discuss the event or concerns about continuing the trip.
It is also recommended that captains take a few minutes to consider the type of questions that may be asked on the crew debrief conference call and appropriate answers to accompany them. Always tell the truth, and keep your answers short and to the point. Stick strictly to the facts and stay together as a crew during the call; this will enable the captain to solicit feedback from other crewmembers. Lastly, remember that you are on a recorded line so always remain professional.
Here is a list of possible questions that may be asked during the debrief call:
Here’s the bottom line: As an ALPA pilot, you have the right to ALPA representation. While much of the information requested during the event review conference call can be gleaned from an Irregularity Report, the timeliness of the information and crew readiness assessment aspect of the program has the potential to benefit the operation as well as provide the crew with downtime and access to ALPA’s CIRP Committee and other ALPA resources.
Regardless of whether you have participated in a crew debrief or may be asked to participate in one in the future, we encourage you to reference the ALPA flyer, “IN CASE OF ACCIDENT OR INCIDENT,” attached to this email and print it out to carry with you on every flight. It contains a checklist and other information on how to proceed with such an event. If you as a captain or first officer are involved in an accident, incident or other potentially traumatic event, do not hesitate to contact an ALPA representative. ALPA has the knowledge and resources to assist members following a stressful situation.
ATC Reporting and FAA Letters of Investigation
By the ARW MEC
As professional airline pilots, we are involved in one of the most scrutinized, regulated, and stressful professions in the United States. The purpose of FAA Order JO7120.632, as summarized by Elizabeth Ray of the Air Traffic Organization (ATO), is
“To provide a more systemic view of safety within the National Airspace System (NAS). This view places more value on discovering why adverse safety events happen and in identifying risks, rather than determining who was at fault. It is the responsibility of all ATO employees who are engaged in and support air traffic services to report all suspected unsafe air traffic occurrences. The sharing of this information allows the ATO to more effectively and safely manage operations within the NAS. This directive modifies reporting requirements set forth previously to emphasize the collection of safety data as opposed to ascribing responsibility.”
Of course, one agency’s safety data impacts the profession of others. The reporting of every deviation (whether unintentional, benign, or inconsequential to actual safety) by ATO employees will, for example, result in increased scrutiny on professional airline pilots. If you run into an issue or the unexpected does occur, and even if the controller say that it’s “no problem,” file an ASAP report within 24 hours of the occurrence.
If you fail to file an ASAP report within 24 hours or your ASAP report is excluded, it is important that you utilize ALPA resources and contact your elected representative, the Grievance chairman, and/or our ALPA attorney if you receive a Letter of Investigation (LOI) from the FAA. The general sequence of events after you have responded to a LOI is you will receive a notice of what the FAA will do. This could be a “letter of warning,” or it could be a “notice of proposed certificate action” (NOPCA). A letter of warning is not challengeable as it is not certificate action. If you get a warning, it stays on your record for two years. The NOPCA, if sent, will likely be a proposed suspension. Once a pilot receives a NOPCA, he/she has 15 days to take action from a select menu of choices. One choice is to send in the airman’s certificates and start the suspension.
Another choice is to ask for an informal meeting where you and your representative would meet with an FAA attorney and enforcement officer in an attempt to encourage something other than the proposed suspension. There is no harm in requesting an informal meeting.
Section 7.3 of the FOM states: All pilots are required to notify their domicile Chief Pilot or the Director of Flying & Chief Pilot within 24 hours of the receipt of an FAA “Letter of Investigation” and to keep them informed of any subsequent action taken by the FAA. Medical disqualification, not temporary in nature, must also be reported within 24 hours of disqualification.
Here’s the bottom line: Even if you consider an event unimportant or a non-issue, file an ASAP report within 24 hours. If you fail to file an ASAP report, or the ASAP report is excluded, and you later receive a letter of investigation from the FAA, call ALPA.
Rest Rules 117.25: how to figure out pilot’s rest
By the ARW MEC
Recently there has been some confusion regarding FAR 117 pilot rest requirements. FAR section 117.25 Rest Period states that before beginning any reserve or period flight duty a flight crew member must be given at least 30 consecutive hours free from all duty within the past 168 consecutive hour period. Note that 117.3 provides that notification of an FDP assignment to a long-call reserve pilot may occur prior to beginning the rest period required by 117.25.
What the above rule means is if you are trying to figure out if you have received the proper rest required, before you start a flight duty period or reserve, you must look back 168 hours to see if you have 30 hours of the rest provided. Pilots pick up trips on their days off and may work seven days in a row and be still legal with the above rule as long as they have the 30 hours is obtained.
ALPA District Advocate: My Story
By Greg Radun, ALPA District Advocate
Over the years I have participated in the various ALPA congressional calls to action, emailing the form letters to my senators and congressman, and making my voice known in surveys. I always felt like it was too impersonal, and I never really knew if I was making a difference. I have since learned that all these things are very important to helping shape policy in Washington, but there is also a more direct way we can influence members of congress: the ALPA District Advocate Program. This is an initiative where ALPA trains individual pilots to make constituent visits to their Members of Congress to talk about legislative issues important to pilots.
After hearing about the program I contacted Vanessa Kermick from ALPA’s Government Affairs Department, who oversees the District Advocate Program and helped guide me through the process. After a short training session via online conference call, I was given all the information I needed to set up a meeting with my congressman back in my home district, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).
Setting up a visit with my congressman was much simpler than I thought it would be, and after a few emails I had a 30-minute meeting set up for the next week. At the time, the FAA reauthorization bill was making its way through Congress. The bill had some flaws from ALPA’s perspective, including lithium battery regulation, secondary cockpit barriers, ATC funding, and 3rd class medical reform. I was sent information on all these topics to use as talking points for myself, and to give to the Congressman Roskam.
I was nervous about meeting my congressman, but he ended up being a very pleasant person to speak with. I think they are much more relaxed back in their home offices than in DC, and although I was technically lobbying him on behalf of all ALPA pilots, it felt more like a conversation. He had some knowledge about the airline pilot life, as one of his neighbors was a FO at American. Congressman Roskam was genuinely interested in what I had to say, and asked frequent questions. I tried to give a pilot’s perspective on the issues, and how the decisions made in DC on the bill would affect us in the real world.
In the end I felt like this experience was very fulfilling and I am looking forward to setting up more meetings in the future with my representatives. Air Wisconsin pilots live all over the country and we can use that to our advantage to have a larger impact on policy in Washington. If you are interested in getting involved, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.alpa.org/advocacy/resources/district-advocates to get started. We can make a difference in our careers at the highest level of government – we just need to speak up!
Upcoming issue of the Wiss-key
By Ken Reinert, ARW Communications Chairman
The next issue of the Wiss-key is in the works, and we have already received submissions from several of your fellow ARW pilots. We are always looking for articles that would be of interest to our readership - topics need not be work- or aviation-related. Creativity is good!
A quick guideline for photographs: the higher the resolution, the better. The latest generation of handheld devices has decent cameras built into them (and if you've disassembled one, the camera module is about the size of a pea), but significant cropping does degrade the final image, which is printed at 300 dots per inch. One dot equals one pixel, so the larger the image, the better the printed photo. Please include the date and location, and names of anyone easily identifiable in the image.
We are planning to go to press in early May so the sooner your submissions are received, the better.
You may send your photos, works of prose, or any questions about your ideas to ARWCommunications@alpa.org.