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Secretary Treasurer's Message - 4/25/17
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Secretary Treasurer's Message - 4/25/17

 

Nobody likes getting a bill you didn’t expect—I get it. I didn’t like writing a check this morning for $143.28 to pay my dues balance. I’ve put together a Q and A to provide you some additional information on Section 29 implementation and the dues bills starting to show up in your email:

How did this happen? 

ALPA National Membership and FedEx payroll worked for several months early last year to implement the new timing of the paycheck dues deduction (DCO) described in CBA Section 29.B.4. The timing of the DCO was correctly programmed by the company and implemented on June 15th, 2016. However, the categories of pay that were subject to dues were not correctly programmed by the company. These categories included “separate check” income such as income from vacation cancellation (paid monthly), end of year vacation buy back (paid at end of December) and disability account (DSA) overflow/after tax income (paid at end of January).   The second installment of your signing bonus was paid on June 15th, 2016 but was not separate check income and dues were pulled correctly from that income.

Why wasn’t this discovered earlier?

From June 15th, 2016 through December 15th, 2016, separate check dues from monthly vacation cancellation should have been included in the income reports sent from the company to ALPA National Membership. These reports are essentially file exchanges of gross dues able income amounts for each pilot, the monthly “separate check” such as vacation cancellation dues able income should have been part of that exchange but was not. In mid-January 2017, yours truly noticed the monthly dues income had not bumped up at the end of December for end of year vacation buy back. I notified ALPA National Membership, who in turn notified the company. The company discovered and fixed the software error within a few days. Your MEC was informed in early February. ALPA National Membership has been testing the software and cross-checking gross income amounts and has verified the software has been correctly pulling dues since February 1st, 2017. Since that time, ALPA National membership has been calculating and verifying dues balances—those balances firmed up last week. Once we had reasonably accurate balances, ALPA and the company started informing the pilots via communications on PFC and from ALPA. We were also able to delay issuing the bills until after April 18th, 2017, to delay the pain from any taxes you were paying Uncle Sam.
 
What is a reconciliation?

ALPA does an annual verification (reconciliation) of what income each pilot had, against the dues they paid. This is generally perfunctory because 98% of our pilots are on DCO, so most of us are not familiar with this process. The reconciliation results in an adjustment, which if you have a balance due, results in a bill. We had two choices to collect the dues balance generated by the error in the company’s software. We could have asked the company to add the balance to DCO and pulled from your paycheck. We instead decided to add the balance into the annual ALPA reconciliation because we could maintain some flexibility of payment terms and have built in processes and staffing at ALPA National to verify balances. The result of the annual reconciliation is the email you received from ALPA National Membership on or about April 24th, 2017.  

Who is affected and has a balance to pay?

We have 2,320 pilots who had monthly vacation cancellation, end of year vacation buy back income or other “separate check” income that were not correctly charged dues from June 15th, 2016 though January 31st, 2017. The average amount of that dues balance is $360.44. We have another 348 pilots who have DSA spillover after tax income that was paid on January 31st, 2017 and not correctly charged dues with an average balance of $151.37. The “separate check” vacation cancellation and vacation buy back income dues is included in the 2016 balance line of your reconciliation statement. The DSA spillover income and other “separate check” income’s dues are reflected in the 2017 balance line of your reconciliation statement. You should have received a reconciliation statement via email from ALPA National Membership on or about April 24th, 2017.

What is an arrangement plan?

If you would like to pay your balance over time, you can contact ALPA National Membership and ask for an arrangement (payment) plan. Those requests are sent to the ALPA First VP of Finance, Randy Helling and myself for approval. Additionally, the FDX MEC has requested, and Captain Randy Helling has established, a pre-approved monthly payment of $200. If you desire a different amount, please contact ALPA National Membership.

How can I find my balance?

The balance is on the emailed reconciliation statement. You can also view your balance in the My Account area of the ALPA web site on or after May 5th, 2017.  You will be mailed a paper bill with your balance on or after May 9th, 2017. There is a remittance coupon included in this paper bill that you can return with your check.

How do I pay?

Three ways:

  1. Payment by check using the remittance coupon and self-addressed envelope provided with your monthly billing statement. You should receive this on or around May 9th, 2017.
  2. Payment via a bill payer service through your financial institution.
    1. Account Number: Your account number is your ALPA number.
    2. Address: Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l 535 Herndon Parkway, Herndon, VA 20170
  3. By contacting Membership Administration and signing an arrangement plan (ARP) that will allow you to pay the obligation over time.
    1. Payroll deductions for ARP’s are made once a month
    2. Monthly payment amount will be no more than $200, unless you request a higher monthly payment amount.

Your recent Secretary Treasurer’s message said I might need to provide a copy of my pay stub, why?

ALPA National Membership uses your company pay statement to cross check the income on the statement versus what the company reported to ALPA. So, if you have a question about the accuracy of your balance, ALPA National may ask for your pay statements to verify and cross check dues able income. The end-of-year pay statements are usually the most useful for ALPA National membership to verify your balance. You can download all your past pay statements at ADP Self Service Portal https://online.adp.com/portal/login.html. For enrollment instructions for the ADP self-service portal, go to PFC and type “ADP” in the search bar in the upper right hand corner of the home page—that will take you to a detailed instruction job aid to enroll.

I’ve added up my 2016 and January 2017 income and it doesn’t match the reconciliation statement balances, why?

Until June 2016, your dues were pulled in arrears (accounting name for “based on prior month’s income”). So, your dues able income from December 2015 is included in the 2016 balance. I recommend calling ALPA National Membership if you have question about your balance and they can provide a spreadsheet that breaks down your income, balance and dues month by month to help you QC their numbers.

Could my dues balance be paid out of the remaining 5% signing bonus?                                          

Unfortunately, no. The language in the CBA 2015 Lump Sum Distribution Letter and ALPA Admin Manual Section 60 states that the 5% should be used for corrective purposes for errors and omissions for bonus payments only.

If I have questions, who should do I contact?

ALPA National Membership has the software that keeps your balance, sends the bills, and processes payments. They are your primary point of contact and have several people on staff to handle incoming calls and emails. Their email is membership@alpa.org. Their phone number is 888-Fly-ALPA, option 3. You can also call me with questions, but if you have questions about your balance or how to pay, I recommend you start at ALPA National Membership. Trish McHugh is our primary membership staff member who works FedEx pilots’ dues issues and she received about 55 calls yesterday and is working her way through the backlog of voicemails.   

We all know this is a hassle, we are used to being on DCO, budgeting our expenses with some predictability and this wasn’t on your radar. When I found out what was happening in January with the company’s software I thought, “!!##&&$$!!**—this is going to leave a mark.” Please maintain your professionalism when contacting staff members in the ALPA National Membership Department.

Fly Safe,


First Officer Rich Zins
FedEx MEC Secretary Treasurer

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