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In This Issue

Training and Testing Update

Sign the Petition

FAA to Implement Climb Via

Retirement and Insurance Update

Committee Activity for February 2014

Your Opinion Matters

ACARS 7.6 Arbitration Final Award

February Resignations

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March 14, 2014

 

 

Training and Testing Update
By Robert Thomas, Training and Testing Chairman


On March 10th, the company will make available the new version of the System Validation (SV) Test.  The new SV Test is required to be taken by all pilots attending CQ training in April and beyond.   Additionally, the Oral test experience, taken just prior to the LOE, will now encompass a much broader spectrum of Systems-related knowledge.  The goals and specific changes are listed below.

 

Goals

The goal of the upcoming changes to the SV Test and Oral Test is to achieve greater flexibility in the training footprint.  The upcoming changes are reactionary to data collected since the adoption of AQP at Air Wisconsin and will move the program in line with industry norms.  Instructors, while operating within the question guidelines provided by the Training Department, will have more flexibility to assess a pilot’s knowledge in relation to Aircraft Systems.  This flexibility provides the Training Department the ability to tailor the experience in a way that addresses current issues they feel may need additional emphasis or attention.

 

Systems Validation Test

·         The SV Test will be shortened to 50 questions.

·         Each pilot will have 60 minutes to complete the test.

·         No other changes apply to the testing experience or requirements to complete the Exam via IBT prior to attending CQ Ground School.

Oral Evaluation – Prior to LOE

·         The SV Test will NOT be used in place of the Systems Oral, as was understood in past practices.

·         Time allotted for an Oral Evaluation will be 1.5 hours, prior to the LOE.

·         The remaining 0.5 hours, prior to the LOE, will be used for paperwork, Weight & Balance calculations, and a short discussion of expectations in the simulator.

·         Simulator Instructors will be given access to the SV Test results of each pilot assigned to him or her.  However, the Systems-related questions asked by Instructors will not necessarily be determined by weaknesses found in the SV Test Results.

·         The company will provide each Instructor with an Aircraft Systems question bank to use as a guideline for their Systems questions.

·         Pilots should expect to discuss Aircraft Systems, Limitations, IAC, the Preflight Walk-Around, and policies or procedures necessary to understand for safe completion of the flight, specifically in relation to the LOE scenario.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to ARWTraining@alpa.org

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Sign the Petition to Stop Norwegian Air International Scheme

By Brendan Cantwell, Legislative Affairs Committee

 

Recently, ALPA has been working hard to block Norwegian Air International’s request for a foreign air carrier permit which would allow it to compete against carriers in the US all the while bypassing the US-EU Open Skies Agreement.  NAI is a Norwegian owned company that has registered its Boeing 787s in Ireland in order to avoid Norway’s employment laws. NAI intends on hiring crews from Singapore and Thailand on a contract basis in order to save money and lower costs while operating flights from Europe to the United States.

 

Open Skies agreements were established to help expand opportunities for consumers and business while still upholding our high labor standards.  If NAI is allowed to proceed with its business plan, it will provide perhaps the most serious threat to the thousands of jobs in the US airline industry.  If this business model becomes the norm, US carriers will be unable to compete internationally which could eliminate thousands of airline jobs in the US and certainly threaten the feed that Air Wisconsin currently flies.  ALPA has worked together with the entire airline industry to try to have Norwegian Air’s application blocked.  Bi-Partisan letters from members of the House and Senate have been sent to the Secretary of Transportation, and now is the time for our government leaders to hear directly from the employees of the airline industry.

 

A petition has been set up to tell the President to Deny NAI! -Please visit takeaction.alpa.org and join the over 25,000 people to sign the petition today and encourage family and friends to do the same!

 

FAA to Implement Climb Via April 3
By Robert Thomas, Training and Testing Chairman

Effective April 3, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ATC will implement “Climb Via” phraseology and procedures for departure operations consistent with existing FAA “Descend Via” phraseology and procedures. Both “Climb Via” and “Descend Via” will be added to the Pilot/Controller Glossary (PCG). Additionally, speed phraseology associated with “Climb Via” and “Descend Via” will be included in the PCG. Other than implementing use of “Climb Via,” there is no change in altitude clearance procedures.

The FAA InFO and FAQs are attached to this PDH.

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Retirement and Insurance Update
By Rich Clarke, Retirement and Insurance Chairman

 

On February 11th, the R&I Committee, which consists of Trustees Richard Dixon, Sean Foley, and me, held its first quarterly meeting of the year in Herndon, VA. You can find the agenda for the meeting attached to this PDH.  Every quarter the committee meets to review the 401(k) plan statistics to measure how our pilot group's retirement plan is performing. I'm pleased to report our plan is consistently above average in all categories including average employee participation rates and contribution amounts. 

 

As usual, the committee did address some negative trends in our plan such as the number of 401(k) loans on the books, and the pitfalls of these loans to a pilot who leaves the company. Upon termination or resignation, the loan amount is due in full and if not repaid in full, the remaining amount of the loan is subject to taxes and penalties. Additionally, for the time the loan is outstanding, the balance remaining on the loan is not being invested in the market preventing pilots from benefiting from the concept of compounding interest. 

 

At this meeting, the committee followed up on a discussion from the previous quarterly meeting in which we were looking to add two new index funds to the 401(k) plan. We like the idea of index funds as their relative cost to the pilots who purchase them as part of their retirement portfolio is very little compared to a managed fund. We already had a US Stock Market index fund in the form of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, which tracks the S&P 500, and we wanted to add an international stock index fund as well as a US Bond Market index fund. We have selected one of each fund and they are in the process of being added to our 401(k) investment lineup. Please look for these new funds around the beginning of June. 

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Committee Activity for February 2014
By Jeff Pruett, MEC Vice Chairman


This article provides you with a bird’s eye view of our committees, building on the articles in the PDH, The Wiss-key, and THE X-RAY, as well as information on Facebook and other mediums. Our ARW ALPA volunteers do an incredible amount of “heavy lifting” for our pilot group, ALPA, the MEC, and Air Wisconsin (that’s right, we’re trying to help Air Wisconsin become a better company). While it’s important for you to know about the work that is being done, it’s equally important for you to understand the role that each committee has in helping the MEC fulfill its mission.

During the month of January Scheduling Vice Chairman Tyson Howard recorded a Part 117 Update podcast. To access these and other outstanding ARW ALPA podcasts, go to http://www.ipadio.com/channels/ARW_ALPA. iPhone users can download a podcast app at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podcasts/id525463029?mt=8. After the app is downloaded, search for “Air Wisconsin Pilots.”

Since May 1, 2013, Air Wisconsin has outsourced the administration for family medical leave and other leaves of absence to CIGNA Leave Solutions. If you are going out on short-term disability, Aeromedical Chairman Jack Roback asks that you contact him after your paperwork is fully and properly completed and submitted to CIGNA. He will then help oversee that CIGNA and the Company expedite approval for short-term disability benefits and ensure that they are handled properly. In addition, if any pilot has problems with CIGNA, please e-mail Jack at Jack.Roback@alpa.org. Presently, we have 7 Pilots out on Short-Term Disability.

The ASAP Committee is comprised of Chairman Dan Lehenbauer and Secondary Representatives Chris Fuson and Marlena Mattingly. Due to the confidential nature of this committee, the exact details of their work are not reported to the MEC or the pilot group, and are protected under federal regulations and the ASAP Memo of Understanding. Nevertheless, this “behind-the-scenes” committee provides prolific service and enormous safety benefits to our pilot group, our company, and the airline industry. The ASAP Event Review Committee (ERC) held regular meetings via telecom on January 8, 15, 22, 29, and February 12 and 26. In addition, the ERC held a Special ERC Meeting for a Critical Event on February 17. As of March 3, 2014 there have been 16 ASAP reports filed that are safety-related concerns about FAR 117. Lastly, the ASAP Committee would like to remind all pilots that if crews are submitting an ASAP of deicing issues, they should also submit an irregularity report.

Central Air Safety Committee (CASC) Chairman Kristen Brown reports that significant work continued since the January meeting and throughout February to follow up on deicing issues in PHL.  All employees that deice in PHL have been retrained with emphasis on a proper tactile check, there has been increased oversight on Piedmont’s side, and there has been an Air Wisconsin representative on the deicing pad for almost all of the deicing events (save for minor frost/one-off events).  The end result is much better according to the feedback the CASC is getting from our pilots, but there are still occasions where a tactile check will result in a second spray due to contamination found; and there is still some work to do with training on proper spraying, etc.  The CASC feels strongly that Air Wisconsin’s continued presence on the deicing pad is necessary from a risk management perspective.

Kristen attended the Safety Council meeting in Herndon, VA Feb 18-20. There, Central Air Safety Committee representatives from all ALPA carriers reviewed the safety programs at their respective airlines. The safety groups also reported on national projects.

Kristen attended Flight Operations Safety Board (FOSB) meeting via telecon on February 20.  Chris White, Gregg Syring, Jim Reiners, Eddy Leverton, and Doug Lesh were in attendance. Topics discussed included current projects and issues including a RTO study, uncommanded yaw procedures, the Flight Safety Index that is reported to US Airways, PHL deicing, FAR 117, and engine cover installation policies. The FOSB meeting is made up of high-level personnel from the Safety Department and Flight Operations; together, they review Air Wisconsin's safety programs and related initiatives.

Air Wisconsin – “Safety First.” Flight Management continues to use the FRMP to coerce pilots into taking FDP extensions. ALPA’s position is clear: a pilot does not need to be fatigued to decline concurrence of a 30-minute or greater extension under the new FAR 117 rules and is therefore not required to participate in the FRMP. Until the FAA has ruled on this dispute or the company changes their behavior, ALPA recommends participating in the FRMP by stating that they were not fatigued in their FRMP report. Lastly, pilots should file ASAP reports any time they feel the 117 rules are not being correctly interpreted by the Company.

The ARW ALPA FAR 117 Working Group consists of Scheduling Chairman Tybee Halter, Scheduling Vice Chairman Tyson Howard, Reserve Resource Coordinator Sean Yates, Grievance Chairman Maggie Eickhoff, Negotiating Chairman Mark Lockwood, Communications Chairman Ken Reinert, MEC Chairman Richard Swindell, MEC Vice Chairman Jeff Pruett, former Senior Communications Specialist Lydia Jakub, and Senior Labor Relations Attorney Jody Bettenburg. Together, this group spent an enormous amount of time and effort to educate and prepare this pilot group for the new flight and duty limitations and rest requirements. To date, eight educational and prolific FastReads were sent to our pilots: an overview of the rule and discussion of some of the concepts and definitions contained within on Dec. 2; specific details and examples of Flight Duty Period (FDP) under the new rules on Dec. 9; the Reserve Availability Period (RAP) on Dec. 20; negotiations and grievances on Dec. 23; cumulative limits and rest on Dec. 31; and the most frequently asked questions during the first week of implementation on Jan. 13. Part 117 Implementation – Q&A on Jan. 21 and on Feb. 6, addressed potential issues that may arise. A new MEC webpage specifically for FAR 117 was also created; this is a "public" page so pilots will not have to login to download all of the FAR 117 FastReads and other available resources. If you prefer hard copies, the group printed “business cards” with Tables A & B and a list of contacts in case you have questions; these business cards are now available in the crew rooms along with copies of the ALPA FT/DT guide. The working group also hosted four FAR 117 conference calls—two for all pilots and two that focused specifically on reserve issues. Lastly, ARW117Questions@alpa.org was established to answer pilot questions, comments, and concerns about the Part 117 rules.

Grievance Committee Members Graham Downing and Ken Nesbitt are now in charge of the Issue Form Branch of the Grievance Committee. If you receive a call or e-mail from Graham or Ken regarding your issue form, please make their job easier by calling them back or responding to their e-mail as quickly as possible. Issues are resolved through an organized and time-critical process in which the filer of the issue form needs to be engaged when requested. Also, when filing an issue form, provide as much detailed information as you can about the alleged contract violation. Please include a copy of your schedule, a description of the event with applicable names and times, why you believe the contract has been violated, and under what section.

Grievance Committee Chairman Maggie Eickhoff received a settlement from the company for a "first out" request violation and for a failure to notify of a drop request.  In addition, she received two settlements for pilots with improper trade denials, and a settlement for 12.G.2 violation, interruption of rest. Lastly, ALPA received three settlements for pilots who were not provided a day room with over 4.5 hour sit. The Grievance Committee is actively collecting data on 117 extensions.  A formal grievance has been filed on behalf of pilot for the company’s failure to return to service within 30 days of notification.  Finally, the Grievance Committee processed over 20 issue forms with the company, and rejected another 12 issue forms for lacking merit.

 

Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman Brendan Cantwell reminds ALL PILOTS that there are three total Calls to Action links on the ALPA website, including grassroots movements on reinforced cockpit doors, the Safe Skies Act of 2013, and an undertaking to stop the creation of a new CBP preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi. Many of these issues will affect the future of your career and our industry—the time to act is now. ALPA National could not have made it any easier for you to voice your support for our profession—it’s so easy that you would have to try to not care about your future and choose to ignore your responsibility to secure it. If you want to change the industry, secure your profession and influence changing the federal rules, regulations, and policies that affect you, then you need to help ALPA effect change by donating to the ALPA-PAC. Now is the time to donate to help secure your career and the airline piloting profession - the future of this industry and our careers will be won or lost on Capitol Hill.

ALL PILOTS - New ALPA website takeaction.alpa.org has been established – visit the website and sign the petition to support ALPA's effort to deny the Norwegian Air International Flag of Convenience Scheme.

The Membership Committee Chairman Brian Gambino asks all pilots to check with their fellow pilots on whether they are receiving ALPA communications. If not, please have them contact the Membership Committee at ARWMembership@alpa.org so that we may remedy the situation. On Tuesday, Feb. 25th, Brian greeted 2 ground schools, comprising a total of 23 new hires. Lastly, the Membership Committee fielded multiple phone calls and e-mail from members who needed help signing onto ALPA Website/APP for FAR 117 calculator.

Scheduling Committee Chairman Tybee Halter would also like to remind all pilots to be firm, fair, and friendly when dealing with Crew Scheduling. Follow the guidance on the back of your ARW ALPA badge backer and remember that you are on a recorded line. Please report all issues to your Scheduling Committee, even if the issue was satisfactorily remedied by Crew Scheduling or a flight manager. If the issue was unresolved, file an issue form. If you do not have a badge backer, please contact Membership Chairman Brian Gambino at 516-263-4735 or ARWMembership@alpa.org. The scheduling committee would like reserve pilots to email ARWScheduling@alpa.org when the Company extends their FDP via ACARS on the last leg or after their FDP has ended. In addition, pilots who have a 29 minute or less extension should also email the committee. Also, and more importantly, these same pilots should file ASAP reports so the FAA can see these practices.

On behalf of the MEC, I would like to thank all of our volunteers for their dedication and efforts. Much of the progress, achievements, and goals realized by ARW ALPA are due to the continued efforts of your volunteers. Thank you.

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Your Opinion Matters – FFDC Survey Now Open

By ARW MEC

 

In order to better understand the issues that are most important to you, ALPA needs to hear directly from you. Therefore, ALPA’s national Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) is conducting a survey of all ALPA pilots at fee-for-departure (FFD) carriers. The purpose of this survey is to identify and prioritize the issues that are most important to FFD pilots. Once the CBC has a better understanding of what those priorities are, it can work with the FFD committee, composed of the MEC chairman from each FFD carrier, to establish clearly defined goals that will lead to improvements in pay, benefits, job security, and career progression. Together we can develop plans to achieve those goals.

 

The survey includes 35 questions plus an opportunity to provide comments and is open now through the end of March. 

 

You can take the survey online by clicking:  http://www.surveysoftware.net/hostal/FFD_Survey.htm

Please login with your ALPA number (including any leading zeroes)

 

  • If you have trouble accessing the survey or have questions regarding the login process, please email efasurveys@alpa.org
  • You may only take the survey once.  If you need to save your work, please click the “Save” button.  When you resume it will pick up where you left off.
  • ALPA will receive a summary of how many people have taken the poll, as well as a summary of their collective answers. We will not know your individual responses.


It is vitally important that each pilot participate in this process. Only through broad-based participation can ALPA develop goals and objectives that reflect your collective interests. Individual survey responses are completely confidential, and the compiled results will only be utilized by the CBC, FFD Task Force, and ALPA staff.

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ACARS 7.6 Arbitration Final Award
By ARW MEC

The ARW Grievance Committee met in Chicago, Ill. in April of 2013 for the ACARS 7.6 Arbitration hearing. Arbitrator Elliott Goldstein was the Neutral Arbitrator who the parties chose to hear the case. The Arbitrator’s Opinion and Award addressed the question:

Did the Employer violate the parties’ labor agreement when, on July 20, 2012, it implemented changes to its computerized tracking systems which included a modification to long-standing practice in determining the point at which Actual Flight Time, and with it pilot pay, begins? If so, what shall now be the remedy?”

On Friday February 6th, 2014 both the Arbitrator and our Union Board Member and LEC 50 First Officer Representative and Vice Chairman Reed Donoghue officially signed the majority Opinion and Award of the Board stating:

Based on all the foregoing findings and incorporated herein as fully rewritten, the majority of this Board finds that the Union has established a violation of applicable provisions in the parties’ Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, we order the Company to immediately cease and desist from utilizing Version 7.6 of ACARS to the extent that it impacts the past practice of using DBB to mark the start of Actual Flight Time for purposes of pilot compensation. We also order the Company to make whole those employees whose pay has been adversely affected by the July 20, 2012 implementation of Version 7.6.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Attached to this Fastread is the full Opinion and Award of the Board. Besides Board Member Reed Donogue, the ARW ALPA team had the following representatives in attendance at the arbitration:

Christopher M. Brown, Esq., Labor Relations Counsel, ALPA

Capt. William Patterson, ARW Grievance Chair, Witness

Capt. Richard Swindell, ARW MEC Chair, Witness

Capt. Kristen Brown, ARW FOQA Chair, Witness

Capt. Robert Burgess, ARW Negotiating Committee Member, Witness

Capt. Maggie Eichoff, ARW Grievance Committee Member

Capt. Brian Milburn, ARW Grievance Committee Member

Thank you to these ALPA volunteers on behalf of a grateful MEC for your preparation, execution, and service to the pilots of ARW ALPA and for protecting the collectively bargained working rules that give our ARW Pilot Agreement meaning and protects the value of our work as professional airline pilots.

Although the Company and the Association may ultimately reach agreement on utilizing other systems to more accurately track aircraft movement in the future, for now the pre-ACARS 7.6 triggers (DBB) will be used and our understanding is that the Company has begun the process of reprogramming the aircraft. Please be sure to check your pay times to ensure that you are being paid properly.

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February Resignations
By ARW Membership Committee

2/3/2014

Matthew Lee

2/25/2014

Andrew Hepler

2/7/2014

Matthew Wise

2/8/2014

William Hewlett

2/3/2014

Donald Gray

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2014 DATES

May 13-15

ALPA Executive Board Meeting in IAD

May 24-31

MEC Meeting in YUL

Aug. 4-7

ALPA Air Safety Week in DCA

Oct. 11-17

MEC Meeting

Oct. 20-23

ALPA Board of Directors Meeting

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The Pay Day Hotline is an electronic, semimonthly publication of the ARW MEC. Questions or comments about the material it contains may be directed to a local council representative or the Communications Committee at arwcommunications@alpa.org.

Air Wisconsin ALPA | 535 Herndon Parkway | Herndon, VA 20172 | 1-800-ALPA-ARW