Chairman's Message - 4/26/18
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Chairman's Message - 4/26/18

 

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April 26, 2018

W

e have worked to increase our influence in several vital areas over the last few years, and I am comforted in the knowledge that these efforts have indeed placed us in a much more influential position in many of those areas. The interdependence and resulting influence that we have achieved in safety, and the efforts in security, foreign domicile assignment (FDA)—and hopefully the Jumpseat Committee in the not too distant future—are essential in our ongoing effort to improve outcomes. The possibility to bargain retirement outside Section 6 is at least peripherally a result of these confidence-building measures, coupled with a recognition of the opportunity we have been handed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) accounting requirements from the 2006 Portable Pension Account (PPA). As it stands, the only way the company can alleviate the extraordinary cost associated with our defined benefit plan is either to declare bankruptcy, wait for the government to change the FASB accounting requirements, or settle with us in a renegotiated pension plan. We have been given an unparalleled opportunity by the 2006 PPA.

Officer Elections

The recent election of Captain John Cardaci as FDX MEC chairman and Captain Don Ray as FDX MEC secretary treasurer was the result of a very productive selection process. Captain Jim Mumby and Captain Wes Reed also volunteered to run for the chairmanship. Your elected representatives questioned each candidate for about two hours over a broad range of subjects. I found the interviews informative, and it was a pleasure to see such a professional process of consideration. Once the election was complete, the MEC took time to meet with both Jim and Wes to encourage them to continue in leadership, as they each bring a great deal to the table. Captain Cardaci was ultimately elected, and there can be no doubt that the MEC is on board with his selection. Captain Ray ran unopposed, but that should not indicate that the MEC is offering him any less support. Captain Ray has headed up our Financial Review Committee for the last several years, so his understanding of the MEC’s finances made him a solid candidate. With these selections, we now find ourselves in need of a FDX MEC vice chairman and a Block 1 representative. I want to encourage each of you to consider offering your services to your fellow pilots by stepping up and tossing your hat in the ring.

Retirement

The recent retirement survey data showed considerable support for the direction we are going but also highlighted the need for greater understanding of the plan details. I recently attended the LAX Local Council meeting, and I saw once again how much effort is required to get people to an adequate level of knowledge for rational consideration.

We have communicated a great deal over the last several months, but it’s clear we have a challenge ahead. We are currently engaged in FOCUS meetings in the Memphis crew room, and the feedback is outstanding. That being said, there is no way that we will be able to reach our entire membership by meeting 15–20 people at a time. We intend to commit additional resources to close the gap in knowledge required to inform rational decisions on the part of each of us. We are stepping up our efforts to provide you, the members, with direct access to the Negotiating Committee members and the individual modeling software, which should be available in the next week. With the final push to fully inform those willing to consider the proposed plan design, we may be in a position within a few months to make a final assessment of your desires to engage in bargaining.

Volunteerism

There is an all too common perception that union work is too demanding or too political, and consequently many never consider stepping up to lend a hand. This is truly unfortunate, as this is just not the case in most committees. Most of the work is indeed rewarding, and the personal rewards of helping your fellow pilots is absolutely a benefit to not just the recipients of your efforts, but also to you. The more demanding jobs offer that much more reward when you know that you have made a difference.

I encourage each of you to consider stepping up either as a committee volunteer or an elected representative. In particular, I want to dispel the notion that only the angry citizens run for office. Though at times that is of course correct, in most cases the elected reps are just pilots trying to make a difference. It is imperative that the leadership team consist of individuals with broad ranging views and differing temperaments in order to fairly represent our pilot group.

Charlie Knight  

In the previous section I spoke of volunteerism. I want to take the time before I leave office to highlight one particular volunteer. Captain Charlie Knight has run our Textcaster operation since its inception eight years ago. All that was required for him to take up this effort was a single conversation at the lobby bar in Cambridge, England. I mentioned to him that I had recently been at dinner with an old friend from my home town. His wife was the editor of a small town newspaper, and I was the FDX MEC Communications Committee chairman. We spent the dinner discussing methods of communication that she had experienced in her years in the newspaper business. She mentioned Textcaster as a method to increase their circulation by offering their clients access to coupons through text notifications. She said this had been extremely successful. When I mentioned this to Charlie, we began to consider how this text notification system could be used to benefit our fellow pilots, and he offered to help.

Since that time, Charlie has loaded the critical deadlines that arrive through the Textcaster system. I have received a great many messages thanking us for the notifications and thanking us for helping our pilots not miss deadlines. I have tried to give Charlie some time off as compensation, but he has always refused. It would please me greatly if each of you would take the time to thank Charlie and all the other volunteers who staff our committees and serve us, with little or no compensation.

R&I Committee

The new R&I Committee under Ben Douglas’s leadership is coming along nicely, and their level of knowledge is increasing pretty much daily. The individuals on this committee are working together productively.

FDA Committee

Your MEC appointed Captain Roger Chapa as the Chairman of the newly created FDA Committee. Roger is a recent FDA pilot and brings considerable experience and outstanding leadership qualities to this important effort. Improving the overall conditions for our FDA crews should concern us all, as that is where the majority of growth will occur in the future.

Please contact Roger.Chapa@alpa.org if you are interested in serving on this committee.

We have asked for a meeting with the FedEx FDA working groups, and all indications are that management supports these meetings and will provide dates in the near future. This effort will hopefully allow for more productive and timely solutions to our FDA administrative challenges.

Safety Committee

FDX MEC Central Air Safety Committee Chairman Captain Todd Carpenter’s leadership and the unprecedented influence he and his team have created with FedEx have provided ever-expanding opportunities with FedEx Flight Safety. Our Safety and Pilot Assistance committees’ very positive handling of the FLL accident ultimately led to many improvements to our joint ability to respond to any future incident or accident. This cooperative effort led to the IATA Safety Survey as well as the Human Performance Initiative. The level of trust that has been created is allowing us a much greater level of influence than at any time in the past. I am hopeful we are making real improvements to our safety effort that will hopefully interrupt the statistical march toward our next accident.

Data Collection Addendum

The events surrounding the ongoing HPI led to our request for an improved data collection agreement. That effort resulted from the collaborative effort to manage the HPI. With the specific codicil to extend contractual data protection to the HPI, we want to see if can successfully pave the way to more valuable data collection efforts that our Safety Committee envisions in the future. These efforts will significantly enhance our safety effort, and you will hear more in the months ahead.

Mentoring  

We are currently pursuing development of a new-hire mentoring program. Captain Vic Tansey and the Membership Committee have the lead on the project and anticipate to begin training in May or June. The idea is to train a core group of mentor trainers in order to train an adequate number of mentors to handle the approximately 800 new hires every two years. More on this at the upcoming meeting. If you are interested in being part of this effort, please reach out to Vic.Tansey@alpa.org.

Contract Answer Team

The Contract Answer Team (CAT) is looking for volunteers in a renewed push to stand up this important effort. This is an easy job for anyone to support regardless of your personal circumstances. All you need is a desire to help. First Officer Anita Shew has joined the leadership of this group and is spearheading the recruitment drive. Please contact Anita at Anita.Shew@alpa.org if you are interested in helping your fellow pilots.

Security

Security Committee Chairman Captain Ted Wallace and our Security Committee continue to interact positively with FedEx Security leadership, and we are looking forward to our next chance to meet with the FedEx Security upper management in the not too distant future.

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

We are anticipating the grand opening of the Aviation Room we supported at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis on May 18 at 1000. If you will be in Indy, please stop by.

National Appointments

Captain Brian Hoffman has been added to the ALPA National Air Safety Organization (ASO) to support their effort to seek better data security. Captain Paul Westfield has also joined the ASO in support of Pilot Assistance.

Drug Incident Protocol

Captain Kandy Bernskoetter and First Officer Anita Shew have been working to establish a protocol to support our pilots when they are the victims of drugging. We currently have no real method in place to protect and support these individuals. I have asked for management to provide us with their protocols, and I have asked that we jointly develop an acceptable plan. We are working with ALPA national and also reaching out to AMAS and the FAA for input on this issue.

Purple Runway  

When this was announced, we spoke briefly with management personnel about the program. Not surprisingly, it is an attempt to shore up our FedEx pilot pipeline, not just for FedEx Express, but for our vast feeder system. This program, coupled with the ongoing FedEx Pilot Hiring Seminars, indicate clearly that management is very concerned about the future supply of pilots. As the people who will share the flight decks with any future hires, we are extremely interested in maintaining the high standards we currently enjoy and would eagerly welcome a role in the hiring process to ensure that our professional interest is reflected in hiring decisions. This is currently not the case, and I believe this is a missed opportunity.

CIRP Workshop and Advanced HIMS Workshop

ALPA’s recent Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP) training workshop and Advanced Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) workshop were both hosted by FedEx at Flight Operations in Memphis. Many thanks to FedEx for stepping up and making these meetings such a huge success.

Transition

It has been my distinct honor to have served as your FDX MEC Chairman these last few years. My term began at the endgame of bargaining in CBA2015 and has run through all the challenges that now bring us to the brink of what may be the most important career financial decision of your remaining lives—the choice to engage management on the Variable Benefit pension plan. We have increased our influence dramatically with FedEx management. Why does influence with management matter? Because, by working cooperatively with management teams when feasible, we are able to effect more direct positive benefits than through any other means.

Thank you so much for allowing me to serve and for supporting my methods and overall strategic approach to all of this. The changing of the guard is an important practice that allows for fresh ideas and fresh individuals to take on the demands of our collective effort. This change potentially creates anxiety with our management counterparts, and the choices made in the immediate aftermath will be carefully watched, and will no doubt lay the foundation for any future engagement. I am confident that MEC Chairman Elect Captain John Cardaci and Secretary Treasurer Elect Captain Don Ray are up to the challenge, and once the vice chairman vacancy created by Captain Cardaci’s election is filled at the August MEC meeting, you will absolutely have solid leadership for the path ahead.  

I have spent more than half my life flying FedEx aircraft, and the individuals I have flown with and worked with at FedEx and at ALPA have provided me with solid support and friendship. It’s very hard to imagine the years ahead without the camaraderie and shared adventures of these past years. I am extremely proud of our pilot group and of having been part of building this amazing company.

Fly safe, take care of each other always, and know that you are part of an incredible aviation family. I wish you all the best and look forward to returning to the line for a brief time prior to retirement on October 1, 2018.

Regards,
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Chuck Dyer
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