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Chairman's Message - 6/27/17
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Chairman's Message - 6/27/17

 

Chairman's Report
June 2017 MEC Meeting

Retirement Research- We have presumably entered what is the final stage of our R&I research and development effort. The contributions from David Blitzstein and Cheiron Corporation have been quite useful. In our recent MEC meeting, your elected representatives voted unanimously to continue development, begin an education campaign, and disclose some conceptual details to FedEx management. I won’t belabor this as you will be hearing more specifics as we proceed. We are currently finalizing details of the plans under consideration, and anticipate crew force briefings by early Fall of this year. As always, your patience is appreciated.

FOM- According to management, the recent Appendix S addition to the FOM was to place all “Acceptable Conduct” statements in a single location. As there have been a few discipline cases where the individual under investigation has claimed to not be aware of the policy, there can be little doubt that the placement of Appendix S in the FOM is a legal maneuver to possibly preempt this claim in future cases. We have sent a letter to management to counter this as the Appendix S document is lacking with regard to its stated purpose.

Notwithstanding our objections to the language itself and the lack of collaboration with ALPA, we are greatly concerned with the use of the FOM versus other options. We explored why the FAA would tolerate the introduction of material which bears little connection to flight operations. We have spoken with the FAA, and been informed that they do not “approve” the FOM, but rather “accept” it. Acceptance only requires a check to insure the FOM is FAR compliant. The FAA has no issue with the FOM Appendix S addition as it does not conflict FAR’s in their opinion. Obviously, we find this situation confrontational and potentially damaging to the underlying relationship between our pilots and management. However, please understand that our CBA Section 19 continues to provide protection should you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of facing discipline.

Weapons- With our third crewmember (30 Year FDX Captain) to be caught up in a weapons violation, we continue to implore FedEx management to seek disciplinary remedies that would put this particular violation in a more considerate regime. We absolutely stand with FedEx management’s commitment to keeping unauthorized weapons out of our workplace, but we expect fair treatment when innocent mistakes are made. These violations have been devoid of malevolent intent, but they have been dealt with as if only the worst intent existed. Our information is that FedEx’s treatment of these situations far exceeds anything which occurs after infractions at TSA checkpoints or at other major carriers. Our existing discipline policy does not make us safer, as anyone with bad intent could care less about this policy. These events were accidents, plain and simple. The resulting terminations damage the trust between the FedEx pilot group and our management.

TNT- I recently attended the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) Conference in Montreal in May. While attending that event, I learned that the ASL Belgium pilots through the Belgian Cockpit Association have filed for the third time with the European Commission to restrict FedEx pilot flying opportunities in Europe. Additionally, they are once again questioning the legitimacy of our domicile in Cologne. The ASL pilot leadership has been quoted as saying that our pilots do not pay taxes in Germany, and that they should be paying French taxes as our hub is in Paris.  I voiced our disappointment at the ongoing mischaracterization of our Cologne pilot’s status. I was assured by the Chairman of the European Cockpit association (ECA) that these statements will be corrected ASAP.  We will do all that we can to protect FedEx pilot careers and expand our opportunities as FedEx global expansion continues.

Security- FedEx upper management has agreed to institute quarterly security meetings with association representatives as was requested when we met them several months ago. These meetings should create a more cooperative security environment and work to enhance our overall security.

JS- We believe that FedEx management should take advantage of International use of CASS (ICASS) so that our pilots can avail themselves of international Jumpseat opportunities off line. Without this program we will continue to be restricted internationally. With FedEx pilots based in foreign domiciles this administrative decision would provide a very valuable benefit at little cost to the corporation.

Fatigue- We are investigating ways we can develop our own fatigue data and use that data to engage management on this extremely important effort. We have seen large improvements such as the sleep rooms that are now common in our hubs, but we still see pairings and lines that create fatigue concerns based on science. We find that the existing collaborative processes are cumbersome and not fully responsive to our needs and therefore, we are considering ways to gather data in an effort to create a balance.. In the meantime, please submit fatigue reports if you experience events that put you in a questionable circumstance, and otherwise approach fatigue in a serious fashion each time you work.

Environmental Standards- While we have made significant gains in this area, we still have concerns with O2 mask sanitation in the aircraft and simulators. We would like to make HEPA filter inserts available, and we still hope management will take this on. We are also concerned with sanitation in aircraft sleep quarters, but have had no direct interaction with management on this issue as of yet. Disinsection continues to offer challenges to our environmental safety on the handful of operations where this procedure is required. Management has been attempting to migrate to a residual application methodology that minimizes exposure for our crews. Unfortunately, the residual application procedure that was recently implemented failed to pass muster with New Zealand. At the direction of New Zealand authorities, a less desirable procedure has been implemented which requires our crews to remain onboard the aircraft at the conclusion of the flight while the insecticide is applied. This adds time to already long days and puts crews in direct exposure. The spray being used is the same Callington Top of Descent spray that was used for inflight applications. The original inflight application was more convenient than this, and with proper protective equipment, that procedure would be better. In any case, protective equipment is a must. That being said, we are encouraged that management has assured us they continue to work on an acceptable method that will not directly expose our crews. This is becoming more important as additional countries are considering adding this requirement. Hong Kong is the latest.

Contract Enforcement- Our gratitude is due to our Contract Enforcement department, especially ALPA Representation specialist Rose Johnson, in our recent favorable ruling on management’s attempt to challenge management’s attempted intrusion into the  48 hour buffer for reserve pilot vacations. This decision continues to protect our outstanding vacation benefit.

Grievance- We are extremely close to a final settlement on the 767 Passover pay issue. I have been hearing this for months, but no kidding, we are apparently close to settlement. The Flat-BedSeat grievance is on track, but we don’t expect a decision until later this year. We are also grieving the company’s change in practice concerning the pay-out of retiree vacation banks that resulted in a number of draconian consequences for pilots who retired this past December 31st.

Safety- We are pleased with FedEx Flight Safety’s systemic approach to risk mitigation, and the resulting inclusion of our Safety committee volunteers as future programs are developed. We just participated in our Quarterly Safety Meeting with FedEx officials, and we found the cooperative environment very beneficial. We were briefed on plans for Runway Status lighting for Runway 27 here at KMEM. Management also discussed plans for making an inflight medical advisement service available for immediate access should the need arise en route. Other details of various efforts were provided, and our inputs were solicited. We voiced concern that the recent shift to 9/18 month training intervals in certain aircraft should be curtailed for now, as we have a very large number of new pilots and recently upgraded pilots. Now is not the time to reduce training opportunities for upgrading pilots and new hires.

Lithium Batteries- We continue to pursue legislation to increase penalties for shippers that knowingly ship DG illegally. We are also still engaged with SAE packaging standards board to come up with better packaging methods for lithium batteries. We have become aware of an IPad Application vendor that has designed applications that make O2 management in emergencies much easier and more reliable. This coupled with a feature that displays all airports globally with runway lengths 3000 feet and above, as well as displaying the location and tracks of more than 220,000 ships globally, gives very useful information in case of a fire or some other emergency that demands landing ASAP. We hope that flight management will consider adding this technology to our IPads, as an additional layer of preparedness for such a potentially catastrophic event.

Finance- The recent dues reconciliation issue has created more negative feedback for the association than anything else that has happened in the last year. We are working with each affected individual to establish a repayment method that does not create undue burden. Additionally, as we believe we are close to a settlement on the 767 Passover grievance, the final 5% holdback from the 2015 Retro Bonus should be available soon as well.

Final Thoughts- The past couple years have flown by for me while serving as your MEC Chairman. I have enjoyed tremendous support from most of you and have had the gratifying opportunity to work side by side with so many of our fellow pilots on a multitude of committee projects. Our Retirement project has taken us places we did not foresee, and I look forward to sharing what we have discovered with you. Overall our involvement with the various components of FedEx management has improved and we see the benefits almost every day in ways both large and small. A few management decisions have tested this relationship, but the underlying foundation has held, and progress continues in most areas.  The value of trustworthy and respectful relationships is a defining principle for successful governance and daily operations. Your elected MEC block/base representatives have provided just such an atmosphere for our governance effort, and for that I am profoundly thankful. Thank you for your understanding and commitment to our collective cause. I am optimistic about the upcoming year, and the possibilities that are coming.

Respectfully Submitted,


Captain Chuck Dyer
FedEx MEC Chairman

 

 

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