November 15, 2011

NPRM Call to Action for FedEx Pilots


My Fellow FedEx Crew Members,

Now is the time for every crewmember to step up to protect our future!

I’m asking you to tell President Obama that you oppose any Cargo Exemption to the soon to be published Flight Time Duty Time Rules (FAR 117).

As part of the final review portion of the rulemaking process, strong consideration is being given to introducing a cargo cut out which would exempt cargo carriers from having to comply with the FAR rules that non-cargo carriers would be required to follow. After years and millions of dollars spent on revamping and developing regulatory language for the Flight & Duty Time Regulations process, it appears that UPS along with its Washington lobbying muscle has been able to influence the process to exclude cargo, or worse to allow the corporations the ability to decide which FAR they will operate under.

For the record, there is nothing that I have seen or heard that would lead me to believe that FedEx is behind this lobbying effort for a cargo cutout.

This Cargo Cutout is completely unsatisfactory in every manor possible.  It boggles the mind to realize the amount of history written in blood and effort that went into aviation safety over the last 50 years and now the powers to be see fit to exclude one group of aviators based on what is carried behind the cockpit. The fact that everyone flies in the same airspace is being lost on some. The flying public is still affected by this cut out. If this FTDT goes through with a cargo exemption it will clearly show that safety was for sale at the highest level.

As Former NTSB Chairman, Jim Hall most recently stated, “It has been found that fatigue imposes the same physiological effects as alcohol consumption. Would you approve a rule that forbids bus drivers from drinking, but permits tractor trailer drivers to drink, simply because buses carry passengers and trucks haul freight?”

It’s show time!
 
If you have never participated with your Union this is the time to start. This will take a maximum of 1 minute. FedEx and all cargo Pilots deserve to have the same science based fatigue-working rules as the passenger carriers.
 
To log on, here is the easy link:
 
http://app7.vocusgr.com/WebPublish/Controller.aspx?SiteName=ALPA&Definition=ContactLegislators&IssueID=1075&submit=Take+Action
 
(You can also find this by going to www.alpa.org, go to “Member benefits,” select Legislation & ALPA-PAC, in the first “call to action” select “Take action now,” log in again, it should be self-explanatory from here.) The information for the president will show up. You can use the sample letter or create your own. Your help and participation is greatly appreciated and needed.

Background: During the 111th Congress H.R 5900 (Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010) was passed and signed into law on August 1, 2010. Part of this law requires the FAA to issue regulations, based on the best available scientific information, to specify limitations on the hours of flight and duty time allowed for pilots to address problems of pilot fatigue. Congress directed the FAA with 12 very specific items that needed to be considered when making the new rules.
 
At every step in the process someone has tried to thwart the process to exempt themselves from having to comply with the potential rules.
 
On December 22, 2010, Senators Inhofe (R-OK), Coburn (R-OK), and Murkowski (R-AK) petitioned the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood to reevaluate the NRPM. They feel that the proposed rules will place an undue financial burden on non-scheduled carriers. Non-scheduled carriers are essentially those airlines that operate under a Supplemental Operating Certificate.
 
Senator Inhofe (R-OK) proposed amendment SA 7 to S.223 (S.223 -- FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act) which would have exempted supplemental operations from any of the FAA proposed FAR rule changes.
 
In April 2011, Congressman Schuster proposed an amendment to HR 658 that would have provided cutouts for the Flight Time Duty Rules. Big surprise but UPS was clearly behind this plan also. Due to the strong pilot efforts from ALPA, IPA and other organizations, Congressman Shuster pulled his amendment due to overwhelming pressure from his colleagues in congress and from outside sources.
 
HR 5900 ‘s mandatory date for FTDT rule publication was clearly missed as 01 August 2011 arrived with no rules. The proposed rules languished in the sanctuary of OMB only to be lobbied by the very highly connected UPS, which is where we are today.
 
The real issue is that
the OMB's predominant mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies. The OMB evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures. It reviews competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. It is an oversight board with specifically limited powers. Creating two levels of safety is clearly not within its purview.

In Unity,

Captain Fred Eissler
Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman
FedEx-ALPA MEC
ALPA PAC Steering Committee