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Attention FDA Pilots - Message from the Negotiating Committee 8/30/16
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Attention FDA Pilots - Message from the Negotiating Committee 8/30/16

 

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A National Perspective: "Redheaded Stepchildren" No More

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the concerns that a pilot group may have in belonging to a national union is that their particular interests are not represented. And certainly, the FedEx pilots are justified in that concern, given that our 4,300 cargo pilots may have a different set of priorities than those of the other 50,000 members in the union at any given time. However, issues are seldom defined that simply where national policy is concerned. 

For instance, you may think that Delta and United work in lockstep because they share "mega carrier" status. Or that all regional carriers share the same concerns all the time, or that carriers like JetBlue and Alaska face the same challenges simply because of their size and business model. But from where I sit on the Executive Council, I have not observed things break out that way. And that, I believe, is primarily for two reasons. The first is that despite the differences at the 31 properties that ALPA represents, we have much more in common than not. The second is because of broad-based representation from many different properties at the national level. It is in this capacity that I believe our union excels. The pilots who represent you to ALPA National perform at an exemplary level, and that is what I’d like to address in this message.

The operating premise is simple: if you don’t significantly participate at a national level, and avail yourself of all the assets at your disposal, it makes little sense to be part of a national union. And if you’ve been reading the Positive Rate, or watching FedEx ALPA videos, you are aware that philosophy is being taken to heart. Whether it’s lithium batteries, environmental safety, FAR 117, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or jumpseat concerns (to name a few, and there are plenty more), there is a systematic, coordinated effort to represent you on both a local and national level.

Now, you could point to some of these issues and say we’ve been “carved out” of the process. And when you have government representatives saying it is not fiscally prudent to include cargo in some of these processes, there is justifiable cause for concern. However, it is my steadfast belief that the only way to effect change in circumstances like these is with the combined strength of national assets and the more than 54,000 pilots behind you. It’s because of this strength that Chairman Chuck Dyer has had meetings with the FAA administrator, the deputy of the TSA, and will have meetings with the Offices of Management and Budget to affect these issues going forward. I think you’d be hard pressed to suggest that someone representing 4,300 pilots might obtain that same level of access and support on their own.

And support is what your MEC has enjoyed. There are 20 volunteers serving on some 24 national committees representing your interests and the interests of the Association as a whole. Your officers and MEC have done an outstanding job of utilizing national assets in support of both local and national issues, and through these assets we have gained insight as to how the game in Washington, D.C., is played. And while the services of these volunteers come at a cost, the lion’s share of that cost is borne by the national budget. It is in this way we are able to obtain on-the-job training that benefits our pilot group at every level. 

And by the way, I can tell you that you, and the rest of the Association, get far more than your money’s worth from these volunteers. They give of themselves far more than the flight pay loss that is charged to the Association, so the word “volunteer” is apropos. The FedEx pilots listed below work on your behalf for the Association in a national capacity:

 

F/O Tim Adams                       Legislative Affairs
F/O Ken Binder*                     VEBA Review/R&I/Kitty Hawk
Capt. Coy Briant                     Hearing Board
Capt. Chuck Dyer*                 Special Compensation
F/O Preston Greene                President’s Committee for Cargo
Capt. Mark Harrison              International Affairs/ASO Communications
Capt. Tony Hauserman           Strategic Planning
Capt. Rich Hughey*               Flight Time-Duty Time/President’s Committee for Cargo
Capt. Steve Heid*                   Appeals Board
Capt. Scott Larsen                  Collective Bargaining/Scope
Capt. Gary McCracken          Strategic Preparedness and Strike/Information Technology
F/O Tony Miller*                   Special Representational Structure Review
Capt. Matt Morley                 Training Council Vice Chair
Capt. Rich Odbert*                Jumpseat
F/O Jim Pala                          UAS
F/O Wes Reed                        Strategic Preparedness and Strike
Capt. Scott Schwartz              Dangerous Goods
F/O Bill Secord                      Legislative Affairs
Capt. Jeff Sparks                    President’s Committee for Cargo
Capt. Ziggy Wulff                  Election and Ballot Certification

(*) indicates a the pilot volunteers at both the local and national level.

Additionally, Capt. Joe DePete serves on three committees in his capacity as first vice president.

As you can see, we have members in positions throughout the national landscape that ensure your interests are properly represented. These interests range from the cargo-centric to issues that effect every carrier under the ALPA umbrella. And where there are issues of particular importance to FedEx pilots, it requires coordination between local and national reps to appropriately vet information to ensure the MEC makes informed decisions on issues that effect you. Having national reps ensures the flow of information is timely, accurate, and comprehensive, all of which is important to sound decision-making. These reps perform a critical service for our union, and do so in a very selfless manner. So please, when you fly with or see these volunteers in the crew room, express your appreciation. It is truly warranted.

And while we have been building this synergy between local and national interests for some time, exceptional progress has been made over the last couple of years, and for good reason. With the election of one of our own to the office of first vice president, we have been able to double down on the concept of team and solidify our standing within the National construct. Capt. Joe DePete’s election to this position is far more than symbolic; it has opened the door to unprecedented information exchange and access. Of course, Joe’s position mandates that he represent the entirety of the Association in the performance of his duties; however, the mere fact that his background is as “one of us,” ensures that no situation is considered without the thought of how it may effect ALPA’s cargo pilots, and that any information pertaining to our pilots is sure to wind up in the right hands. In my view, Joe is a leader at the national level that our MEC, officers and national reps can count on for unconditional support and advice. It is my belief that Joe has filled a void, and now completes the concept of teamwork regarding local and national interests.  

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for reading. While a bit long-winded, I feel that everything included is “need to know.” It is important to know that a strong effort is being made on your behalf at every level, and that we are all working together toward the betterment of our collective careers. No stone unturned, no one left behind. You truly have an exceptional team representing you, and it is our goal to continuously grow and expand that effort.

Redheaded stepchildren no more. 

Respectfully,

Russ Sklenka

Captain John Cardaci
FedEx MEC Vice Chairman

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