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Chairman's Message - 10/11/17
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Chairman's Message - 10/11/17

 

October 2017 Update

This past week’s MEC Triannual Meeting led to the conclusion of the retirement research portion of the project with the MEC’s unanimous decision to focus on the Variable Benefit Plan model. With that decision the ongoing development project will focus completely on that particular models’ design. Now that a single model is under consideration, you can expect an acceleration of education communication over the next several months. My hope is that as you receive education communications you will provide feedback and questions. That exchange is invaluable to the success of our collective efforts (click here to access the Retirement Education and Research Q&A).

The MEC authorized the Negotiating Committee to meet with management to introduce the variable benefit concept to management and their actuaries. We fully anticipate that they will need time to digest and consider the plan concept before any consideration of future bargaining. Our discussion with management is scheduled to occur later this month.

This retirement research and development project has taken almost 20 months and countless hours of effort on the part of your project leadership team. I am hopeful that this effort will meet with your approval and support, and lead to a unifying outcome. I truly want this effort to provide a clear path forward that we can all get behind and perhaps, a positive way to move beyond the feelings that linger from Contract 2015. Whether that path leads to bargaining outside Section 6 prior to the 2021 amendable date or after, the goal is to provide a retirement plan that satisfies the needs and desires of our pilot group.

In other business this past week, Captain Kandy Bernskoetter was confirmed as our Pilot Assistance Team Hotline (PATH) Chairman. Captain Todd Carpenter was reconfirmed as our Central Air Safety Committee (CASC) Chairman, and Captain Norm Maxim was confirmed as the Vice Chairman of the CASC. Additionally, Captain Tony Miller was confirmed as a member of the Pilot Benefit Review Board (PBRB), a sub-committee of the R&I committee.

MEC Vice Chairman Captain John Cardaci gave a detailed committee update, and Secretary Treasurer First Officer Rich Zins briefed the MEC on our finances and the budgetary plan going forward.

Various committees, including Grievance, Military Affairs, and Strategic Preparedness & Strike Committee provided updates to the MEC. Additionally, our Contract Enforcement department and ALPA Executive Vice President Captain Russ Sklenka provided updates.

The update from Captain Chris Wood, Grievance Committee Chairman, was extremely encouraging, and it was refreshing to hear how many of our issues have been successfully resolved over the last year. We have a tendency to focus on the cases that don’t go our way at the expense of the overwhelming number that do.

Captain Phil Fauchaux, our Military Affairs Chairman, updated the MEC on the recent publication of the Military Affairs Handbook in collaboration with FedEx management. We look forward to the opportunity to work with management’s new Military Affairs representative, retired FDX Captain Jack Ramsaur, a fresh take on how our military reserve pilots are viewed and treated.

Rose Johnson from Contract Enforcement also provided data on the resolution history of the issues that are brought forth to them by all of us. I was astonished at the approximately 90 percent success rate of resolving these issues successfully with flight management. This speaks volumes about the effort that has taken place to improve our ability to respond to these issues. As you will recall, we added personnel to this department last year and made a significant effort to engage management at all levels to resolve these issues.

SPSC Chairman Captain Wes Reed briefed the MEC on preliminary development of our strategic plan. This development effort has been underway for the last several months and should lead to a continual effort to more sharply define our operations. This effort should help ensure that our resources are applied in the most effective manner to support our established goals. The MEC now has this document and will reach out to our committee chairmen to obtain their suggestions for strategic consideration; these inputs will be consolidated into a strategic plan that is ultimately approved by the elected representatives.

Captain Russ Sklenka, our ALPA Executive Vice President, received two resolutions from your elected representatives to seek a reduction to our ALPA dues and to make fundamental changes to the method of internal fund allocation back to the individual pilot groups. We feel that a full review is overdue in order to facilitate more effective utilization of our dues money. These resolutions will ultimately be presented for ALPA Board of Directors consideration.

On a final note, once again we are approaching winter and peak season. This is a good time to review winter procedures and take a few moments to reflect on past experiences associated with winter operations at FedEx. Ice storms, blizzards, and other challenging weather events along with increased operational pressure due to business demands make winter a significant challenge. The scheduling challenges often result in extended duty periods and shortened rest periods, which can potentially result in a serious degradation in performance. With that in mind I encourage you to take fatigue seriously and not underestimate its effect on you or your crewmates. Take care of each other and do not be afraid to speak up if you suspect you may not be up to the task at hand. Be cognizant of the fact that we have hundreds of fellow pilots who have limited experience with FedEx peak operational demands. One could do much worse than to keep that in mind as we roll through the challenges ahead. In my earliest days in aviation I was taught that “if there’s doubt, there’s no doubt”—not a bad maxim to live by.

Regards,

 


Captain Chuck Dyer
FedEx MEC Chairman

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