On Friday, August 17th, we wrapped up a busy week in Memphis; I want to update the base on some important issues.
The MEC elected Captain Dave Chase, MD-11 ANC, to fill the vacant seat of Vice Chairman to complete the interim term that runs through next Spring (March 31). He brings a vast wealth of R&I experience and knowledge to the MEC staff, and his willingness to serve is much appreciated. There were five willing and able candidates to fill the position, and ultimately, Dave was selected. Rest assured that the office will be firing on all cylinders now that the seat is filled.
FAA Reauthorization Bill Section 744
The efforts to oppose the provision which provides funding for research into single-piloted cargo operations in the FAA Reauthorization Bill in Washington D.C. have gained great momentum. Our own, Capt. Bill Secord, Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman, was appointed to the head of “The Alliance” for keeping pilots in the cockpit. This is a joint effort by ALPA, the Independent Pilots Association (IPA; UPS), the Allied Pilots Association (APA; AA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to promulgate our message and apply pressure to keep two pilots in the cockpit at all times. There has been a targeted advertising campaign, focused lobbying efforts, statistical research, and public polling, all to appropriately protect our profession. Outside firms have been hired to assist “The Alliance” with their efforts, and thanks to your MEC’s resolution to ALPA National, this issue has been industrialized. What this means to us is that this is no longer a cargo pilot’s issue; it is an airline industry issue. With that comes ALPA National financial backing, as well as access to all of the ALPA National resources.
Council 123 had just over 42% response rate to the Call to Action, leading the crew force and ALPA National, to let your Senators know that this issue is important to you. If you have not taken the 60 seconds that it takes to complete the Call to Action, please do so now, by clicking here.
In-house, we have some changes coming down the line as well. Capt. Ben Douglas, R&I Committee Chairman, briefed the MEC on the Vanguard to Fidelity transfer that has been directed by the company. Keep your eyes open for more information coming your way, but the change will provide far better brokerage services and account management features than we currently have with Vanguard. There will be a blackout period as the funds transfer, currently forecast late in December, with Fidelity coming on board effective Jan 1, 2019. We will send out updates as these dates are finalized so you can plan accordingly.
The ALPA-sponsored FDX MEC Long Term Disability plan will move to age banded rates beginning January 1, 2019. There will not be an increase in premiums, however some age bands will see a reduction. If you dropped out of the plan when the rates spiked several years back, take a look again when the open enrollment period begins. It is expensive, but it is incredibly good insurance. We all hope that we never need a LTD payout, but when we do, it is important to have a solid plan. Keep your eyes peeled.
Following significant roundtable discussions, your MEC tasked the Negotiating Committee to prepare a retirement opener proposal concerning the Variable Benefit Plan. The openers document will be presented to the MEC at the October meeting in anticipation of bargaining with FedEx management.
This complex subject cannot be reduced to social media posts. In an effort to get factual information to the crew force that will allow our pilots to make educated decisions, all communications will be through formal channels. The vocal minority may win the day on social media, but our goal is to manage this effort in a methodical and pragmatic manner. Please remain engaged and ask questions through the ALPA website.
It is my belief that the time is right to open the discussion, get real numbers to the crew members, and let our negotiators work for the best deal they can. If we don’t get an impressive offer, then we can stand down, and reengage in 2021. Let me be quite clear, there is no “they” and “them" in this discussion. It is “we” and “us.” I will not accept a plan that doesn’t improve our retirement across the board. The ceilings that exist today are my floors for tomorrow.
If you have made it this far, you are set up perfectly for my final tidbit.
“FRM: FATIGUE REPORTS MATTER”
If you find yourself tired, to the point that you are making mistakes in the cockpit or are feeling that you are not able to be your best, please fill out a fatigue report. The FEM link is on PFC, under the Safety quick link. If you don’t report it, it didn’t happen. We need to empower the Fatigue Event Review Committee (FERC) with the data to fight for our quality of life. Flying tired is dangerous, and we need the company and our advocates to know what is happening out on the line. YOU DON’T HAVE TO CALL IN FATIGUED TO FILL OUT A FATIGUE REPORT! Please help us help ourselves, even if you have to wait until you wake up to do it. Once you file a fatigue report, please send a copy of it to the FDX MEC office at Stacey.Stewart@alpa.org.
FedEx Captain and current ALPA First Vice President Joe DePete, has declared that he is running for the position of President of ALPA. As you may recall, the MEC endorsed Captain DePete during the April MEC meeting this year.
That’s all for now,
Capt. Joshua Hallett
LEC123, Block 13 Chairman