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Council 26 Message - 2/9/18
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Council 26 Message - 2/9/18

 

Fellow Council 26 Members:

There is much going on with your union. Apologies in advance; this is a lengthy update. Perhaps get a cup of coffee and settle in. The first quarterly meeting of the MEC was held January 22–26, 2018.

While this is a Council 26 update, I am going to take a moment here, as the Block 3 rep. to call attention to Blocks 11 and 6. Attending their last meetings as your representatives were Capt. Mike Arcamuzi and F/O Anita Shew (11 and 6 respectively). They have served in turbulent times with grace and dignity and have been mentors to me. Even when we disagreed, they were never disagreeable. They have represented Council 26 well and deserve congratulations and gratitude for their unwavering representation for what’s best for the pilots of FedEx.

Turnover
Beginning March 1, Capt. Rich Odbert will assume his seat as the Block 11 (Training) rep, and Capt. Eric Armstrong will assume the Block 6 rep position. Don’t hesitate to contact any one of us with questions and comments about what’s going on in your union. If you don’t get a response within a day from one of us, please assume that there was some breakdown in communications and retransmit. We pledge to respond ASAP.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only seats turning over in FDX ALPA. MEC chairman Capt. Chuck Dyer is retiring in October. In order to provide adequate turnover, he will be stepping aside in June. Additionally, secretary-treasurer, Capt. Rich Zins has also decided to step aside in June. During the second quarterly MEC meeting scheduled April 16–20, 2018, in Memphis, an election will be held to fill the positions of MEC chairman and secretary-treasurer. The interim term will begin on June 4, 2018, and end on March 31, 2019. If you are interested in running for one of these positions, please submit a resume and/or position letter to MEC Secretary-Treasurer Rich Zins at Rich.Zins@alpa.org.

Retirement and Insurance Committee
With the resignation of the R&I chairman and several committee members, we were faced with the need to rebuild the committee. At first, this seemed like a very challenging project, and it was anticipated that this would demand a great deal of time and energy. As it turned out, former R&I chairman Capt. Dave Chase and Capt. Jim Mumby stepped up and took on this challenge in an exemplary fashion. The result is a new slate of committee members who were recently trained and will continue to receive support from Dave and Jim, as well as Capt. Ken Binder.

The new R&I chairman is F/O Ben Douglas and the vice chairman is Capt. Bill Hubbell. The new committee members are F/O Kevin Biggins, F/O Josh Carter, and F/O Benjamin Monshor. The PBRB chairman is F/O Kevin Biggins, and the new members are Capt. Josh Tygart, Capt. Todd Laessig, F/O Ben Douglas, Capt. Bill Hubbell, F/O Josh Carter, and F/O Benjamin Monshor. Also on the board from a prior appointment are F/O Susan Alexander, Capt. Marcus Campbell, and F/O Anthony Miller. The MEC appointed F/O Ben Douglas, F/O Josh Carter and Capt. Jamie Morton to the Investment Committee. The Insurance Board will be filled with members of the R&I Committee on a meeting-by-meeting basis. The Premium Reimbursement Plan (PRP) Board members are Capt. Bill Hubbell, Capt. Aaron Grady, Capt. Mike Broome, and Capt. Al Smith.

We are pleased to see new faces, and an opportunity to solidify this new group as our R&I subject-matter experts long before the upcoming 2021 amendable date. Please thank them for stepping up, and especially thank Capt. Dave Chase and Capt. Jim Mumby for their immediate acceptance when asked to help reestablish this vital committee.

Please thank your former R&I Committee members for their past service as well: Capt. Ken Binder, Capt. Corey Franklin, Capt. Andrew Franklin, Capt. David Jeter, and Capt. Jim Ewen.

Defined Benefit (DB) Plan Retirement Project:
Much of the week was spent focusing on the ongoing DB Plan improvement project. For clarity, DB Plan and A-Plan can be used interchangeably. Briefings with the actuaries from Cheiron, and our project consultant David Blitzstein were conducted. Capt Pat May, our Negotiating Committee chairman, has recently recorded a video explaining the comparison between our current A Plan and the Variable Benefit (VB) Plan from 1999. If you haven’t seen it, please go view it here [insert link].

One of the common criticisms heard of this video is that it “doesn’t show what I’d get.” Please stand by. This is a long process in which we must walk before we run. The purpose of this initial comparison is to compare what we currently have with what a VB Plan would have done. Stay tuned for “your numbers” soon. There are efforts underway to meet in small groups in AOC to show individuals what kind of numbers such a plan could mean for them.

There is an awful lot of F.U.D.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, Dissent and Disinformation) going on about this project. We know this by some of the feedback we are hearing. Many of you are worried that you are in the “donut hole” that’s been spoken of. Rest assured, what the MEC has seen so far shows this to be a very small group of pilots; fewer than 150 out of 4,700-plus pilots. Going way out in front of our skis here, be assured that none of us in Council 26 are ever going to vote for any plan to go to you for ratification if it doesn’t include retirement benefit improvements for all pilots, period. We believe that is the sentiment of everyone on the MEC.

The good news is we are getting feedback from many of you. This tells us you are engaged. Please stay engaged and read/watch the material coming out and go to meetings that allow you to get “hands on” with those developing this project. We are also going to ask you to stop rumors and innuendo in their tracks. When you read or hear someone talking about anything on social media or the crew bus—call them out. Ask them to contact any one of us to verify claims about giving up any benefit we already have or how the new plan benefits one group over another. At this point, since no plan has been negotiated it’s pure speculation! Spreading rumors and making up the facts hurts all of us—including the self-proclaimed experts who spread such nonsense. Your representatives are pilots, like you, who are counting on our DB Plan to support us through a long and prosperous retirement. Real improvements to our DB Plan are long overdue and we mean to have our negotiators achieve them.

Survey
Your MEC has contracted with the University of New Hampshire Survey Center (UNH) to conduct a phone survey of our membership. Pilots who receive calls will be selected at random. We encourage all those contacted to answer the call and participate. Your input is crucial.

The details are as follows:

  • Calls will begin February 5 and end on February 18 (14-day calling period)
  • All calls will come from 603-397-0635
  • Caller ID on landlines will indicate “UNH Surv Ctr”
  • Caller ID on cell phones will indicate “NH Call”
  • Calling times are between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. (time zone appropriate)
  • UNH will make several attempts to call you before a new number is randomly selected.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important survey.

December 31 Retiree Final Pay Period Issue
FedEx management recently denied our grievance regarding compensation of vacation time for pilots who retire December 31. This grievance covers pilots who retired on December 31, 2016 and 2017, as well as any future December 31 retirees. After many years of compensating pilots in January of the year following a pilot’s December 31 retirement, management began to pay that compensation on December 30—the day before the pilot's retirement date. In doing so, management avoided paying the 8% DC contribution on those earnings and created other negative consequences for these pilots (income tax bracket, Medicare premium issues, etc.). There was no advance notice of this change nor has there been a justifiable explanation. The case is set for arbitration on May 22–23, 2018.

Good “Gouge”
On your iPad in the Secure Content Locker > Airwatch Content search “Pilot New Hire Guide.” While geared toward the new hire, this guide has a plethora of good information on many subjects that are useful to everyone, including payroll, bidding, secondary lines, iPad and IT issues, Deviation Bank Allowance, etc. This reference document is a handy guide to veteran and new pilots alike.

European Ramp Check Issue
Many ramp checks in Europe have recently been complicated by the inspecting officials’ request to provide date/proof of your most recent line check. Apparently, this is a regulation in Europe. If asked for this documentation, politely explain that our procedures don’t include a requirement to maintain such documentation, so we don’t have it readily available. If they insist further, get the duty officer involved: 901-397-8214.

iPad or other PED Fires
We all personally carry a lot of devices with lithium-ion batteries. Should one of these batteries cook off, get it in water ASAP. The ice chest on our planes is one of the best locations to cool down the device quickly and prevent a fire from spreading.

MEC Reserves:
At the end of the last negotiating cycle, our MEC budget was thin. Thanks to the austerity exercised by our committees and the careful planning of the secretary-treasurer, we have contributed more than $5m to our reserve. The sense of volunteerism and frugal planning has put us well on our way to being prepared for the next round of negotiations. Well done to all ALPA volunteers who have done a little more with a lot less to make things better for us all.

Financial Review
Along the financial lines, remember this is your union. You pay dues. With that comes a fiduciary responsibility on ALPA’s part to spend those dues dollars wisely and in accordance with polices set forth in our various governing documents. As such, we are the only MEC in ALPA with a Financial Review Committee (FRC). It is chaired by an MEC block rep elected by the other MEC reps and is accountable to the other MEC reps only. That is, he doesn’t report to or answer to the MEC officers to prevent conflict. The FRC includes two members-at-large who regularly review the books looking for any evidence of impropriety or malfeasance and regularly report the results to the MEC.

If you have specific questions, you, as a dues-paying member in good standing have the right to see financial records as well. If you desire to do this, please call or e-mail the secretary-treasurer and he will set up an appointment for you to come in and review them with an ALPA staff member. Once the review is complete, any questions you have can be answered by any of the MEC officers and/or FRC.

Agency Shop
You may also know that your status as a member in good standing is a condition of your continued employment at FedEx Express. This is known as the “Agency Shop” clause. The vast majority of us are on “dues checkoff,” meaning the company automatically deducts ALPA dues from our paycheck and sends it to ALPA. At some point last year, a mistake made in the Payroll office and the company didn’t deduct union dues on vacation buyback monies and some other special payments. This means many of us received money that was “dues-able” but dues were not taken.

Secretary-Treasurer Zins discovered this, but not before some of us owed back dues. Because ALPA can’t make the company deduct back dues directly from your paycheck, ALPA National sent us mail telling us the amount; however, some owed thousands and contacted ALPA to arrange a payment plan. Some mistakenly believed ALPA would just collect what was owed and ignored the letter. As of December 31, there were approximately 30 pilots who still had not paid nor answered ALPA’s mail in more than 90 days and were put in “bad standing.” The direst immediate consequence is that your ALPA insurance is dropped. Additionally, you are no longer eligible to vote in ALPA elections/ratifications. Next, continuing to ignore and refuse to pay dues owed will result in expulsion proceedings (approx. 120 days). This means you will have to reapply to join ALPA. Ultimately, after expulsion from ALPA, the Agency Shop clause takes effect and your employment is terminated. Please don’t let this happen to you. Call us and we can help you restore your good-standing status.

Strategic Plan
Our strategic plan is in the process of full implementation. SPSC Chairman Capt. Wes Reed is tasked with execution of its components. The public portion of the plan will be published on the FDX MEC website shortly. One of the unique aspects of this plan is the Vision Committee. The MEC has mandated this standing committee be made of leaders from previous MEC administrations to capture corporate and negotiating history and assist the MEC with strategic planning.

In closing, the five of us are committed to providing our membership the best representation possible. Please let us know how we can do better. 

See you on the line,

Michael Arcamuzi
Block 11 Representative
Mike.Arcamuzi@alpa.org 901-210-0701
fdxcouncil26.alpa.org
Pete Harmon
Block 3 Representative
Pete.Harmon@alpa.org
603-957-7110
fdxcouncil26.alpa.org
Anita Shew
Block 6 Representative
Anita.Shew@alpa.org
704-490-0471
fdxcouncil26.alpa.org

Rich Odbert
Block 11 Representative Elect
Rich.Odbert@alpa.org
fdxcouncil26.alpa.org

Eric Armstrong
Block 6 Representative Elect
Eric.Armstrong@alpa.org
fdxcouncil26.alpa.org


 

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