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In This Issue

Volunteer of the Quarter

ARW Pilots Back the PAC

Retirement and Insurance Committee FAQ

ALPA GAO Report Press Release

ACARS 7.6 Arbitration Final Award

Upcoming Dates


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February 28, 2014



Volunteer of the Quarter
By ARW MEC Officers

Every quarter, your MEC officers bestow the Volunteer of the Quarter recognition award upon the ARW ALPA volunteer whose work has distinguished him or her above all others, while dedicating an extraordinary amount of time and effort on our pilot group’s behalf.

For the first quarter of 2014, Aeromedical Chairman Jack Roback was selected as the stand-out volunteer to receive the ARW MEC Unified Excellence coin, and our sincerest thanks. (You can see the artwork of these coins at the end of this article.)

As the ARW Aeromedical Chairman, Jack serves as an excellent resource for information relating to the FAA Medical Standards and Certification and FAA Appeal Procedures; in addition, he performs as a collection point of medical data for both ALPA as a whole and the ARW MEC. His primary responsibility is to to manage the Short-Term Disability Bank (STD) in coordination with the Company and to provide STD Bank status updates to the MEC. Furthermore, Jack annually reviews the average national cost associated with Aeromedical Examiner fees associated with required FAA Physicals and provides this data to the MEC and Company for adjustment to FAA Medical reimbursement.

In any given month, Jack assists tens of fellow pilots navigate through family medical leave and other leaves of absence by helping with paperwork, submission procedures, and expediting approval for short-term disability benefits; along with ensuring that these requests are handled properly. Moreover, as an intermediary Jack gets our pilots to the appropriate resource; whether that is ALPA’s Aeromedical Office or other Pilot Assistance resources. Much of the work that Jack performs on this low profile, but highly important committee is confidential. All of this important work is done on Jack’s personal time, as he flies full schedules.

Jack started his flying career at Southern Illinois University and graduated with an Associate degree in Aviation Maintenance and a bachelors degree in Airline Management.  After using his A&P and gaining 1,000 hours as a Flight Instructor, he spent seven years flying a Cessna 421 for a Part 135 Charter company out of Palm Springs California.  When the Charter company closed, Jack paid the bills by turning wrenches on Skywest’s Metroliners, Brazilias, and CRJs; as well as flying a Baron as a Maintenance Pilot and a Maintenance Inspector for Skywest.  To further his career Jack accepted a job from United Airlines working as an Aircraft Technician in IND, and performed heavy structural sheet metal repair on 767 and 757 aircraft. After Jack was furloughed from United during bankruptcy, he landed himself a short-term charter position in IND. Fortunately, Air Wisconsin hired Jack in May of 2004, and he has since been based in IAD, ORD, PHL, RDU, and now lives in Norfolk.  Jack is very happy here and reminds us repeatedly that “this is the best company he has worked for.”  Jack has been Aeromedical Chair for 2 ½ years and enjoys working with the Company and assisting our fellow Pilots with their Aeromedical needs.

On behalf of the entire MEC, please join us in thanking Jack for his willingness, dedication, and effectiveness in serving our pilot group.

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ARW Pilots Back the PAC

One of the most effective ways ALPA pilots garner influence with the nation’s political community is through our political action committee: ALPA-PAC. By pooling donations from ALPA members, ALPA is able to help elect pro-pilot Members of Congress who support the union's legislative agenda regardless of political affiliation. ALPA’s goal is to ensure a pro-pilot majority in the House and the Senate. ALPA-PAC also helps educate Members of Congress about who we are, what issues are important to us, and how Congress’ decisions affect our lives.

ALPA-PAC is funded 100% by voluntary contributions from ALPA members. No dues money is used for political contributions. Every year, thousands of ALPA members demonstrate their commitment to the PAC and its goals through their contributions. Some make annual donations by personal check or credit card.

The following ARW pilots “Backed the PAC” in 2013 – for their future, for your future, and for the future of air line pilots.  For more information visit http://www.alpa.org/ALPAPAC.

David Anderson

Jared Armstrong

Laura Assia

Paul Badaracco

Kristen Brown

Robert Burgess

Brendan Cantwell

Matthew Chadwick

Nicholas Chichester

Richard Clarke

William Deshazer

Reed Donoghue

Matthew Dugan

Margaret Eickhoff

Carl Fleming

Daniel Fluke

Colin Gallagher

Brian Gambino

Benjamin Grant

Tybee Halter

Matthew Hennigan

Kenneth Honneffer

Daniela Hurley

Erik Johnson

Matt Johnson

Benjamin Keider

Jeremy Krieger

Daniel Lehenbauer

Mark Lockwood

Matthew Miller

Patricia Mottola

Aric Newsted

David Olinski

Jeffrey Pruett

Andrew Rabe

Kenneth Reinert

John Roback

Javier Rodriguez

Jeremy Saylor

Kurt Shipman

Geoffrey Stern

Christopher Suhs

Richard Swindell

Robert Thomas

Ralph Wainwright

Jeffrey Wirth

Jeffrey Woodham

Richard Zaiman

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Retirement and Insurance Committee FAQ
By ARW R&I Committee and ALPA Retirement & Insurance Department


1.    What are the R&I committee’s thoughts on the “escape hatch” idea?   The “escape hatch” is an in-service rollover of a portion of the 401(k) to an IRA that we would have total control over as far as investment choices, but still be able to contribute to our 401(k), as well as do a Roth Conversion of the IRA so the growth would be tax free.


A.    The ARW R&I Committee considers the purpose of a 401(k) retirement account to maximize a pilot’s ability to retire comfortably.  More liberal withdrawal rules undermine the purpose of a 401(k) account, and therefore the in-service IRA rollover idea is not something the committee is interested in pursuing as an option for our 401(k).  That being said, there is no requirement that a 401(k) be an individual’s sole retirement savings option, and a separate IRA can provide additional options for a retirement portfolio.  It is up to each individual to determine how to best meet their retirement needs, and the ARW 401(k) is only one vehicle with which to do so.  



2.    What are the R&I Committee's thoughts on adopting an in-plan Roth conversion?   The deadline is December 31, 2014.


A.    The ARW R&I Committee is actively pursuing the option on an in-plan Roth conversion.  The IRS just published guidance on the process of an in plan conversion at the end of 2013.  As a result T. Rowe Price, as well as many other investment companies, are in the process of developing a procedure for the conversion.  In-plan Roth conversion is on the agenda for the next ARW R&I Meeting, and at that time T. Rowe Price will provide an update on the development of this procedure which will be evaluated by the Committee before adding this option to our 401(k) plan.  The December 31, 2014 deadline mentioned is not a deadline for pursing this option. 




3.    Why it is prudent to have T. Rowe Price retirement date funds that are 4 times more expensive than Vanguard retirement date funds.  Additionally, why is it prudent to have only one index fund in our menu?


A.    When considering fund selection for the ARW retirement plan, the committee makes informed and reasoned decisions for which it determines to be in the best interest of the plan and its participants.  Cost is one consideration, but neither the sole nor dominant factor considered when making decisions.  The committee solicits input from Plan service providers such as T. Rowe Price and ALPA staff when deliberating and making decisions on any plan changes and the implementation of many of these decisions effectively requires Air Wisconsin consent as it is the Plan Sponsor.  When managing our 401(k), the retirement committee makes decisions based on a “reasonable man” standard, meaning the committee is held to the standard of what a “reasonable man” would have done given the same information and choices.  No decisions are black and white and it is likely that three different committees would make three different investment elections given the same exact information and circumstances while all meeting the “reasonable man” standard.  The T. Rowe Price retirement date funds all rank in the 1st or 2nd quartile in terms of expense ratio among their Lipper peers, and based on information available to the committee, the T. Rowe Price retirement date funds are appropriate investment choices for the ARW 401(k) retirement plan. 


B.    At each quarterly meeting, the retirement committee evaluates current investment options as well as any potential additions or replacements to the investment lineup.  At the November 2013 quarterly meeting the committee decided that it may be prudent to round out the index fund lineup, which at the time consisted of only the Vanguard Index 500 fund, an index that tracks the S&P 500.  We felt it would be prudent to look at a US bond index fund as well as an international stock index fund.  At the February 2014 meeting, the committee reviewed several index funds that fit this criteria, and unanimously elected to add the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund as well as the Vanguard International Stock Index Fund.  The plan is to have these index funds added to the ARW 401(k) investment lineup by the middle of summer 2014.  As always, the committee will continue to monitor our current investment lineup as well as review potential investment funds which will aid our pilots in meeting their retirement investment goals.  




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ARW Press Release


Release: #14.20
February 28, 2014


GAO Report on Pilot Availability Confirms that It’s All About the Money


Washington – The Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA) today responded to the GAO report (GAO-14-232) “Aviation Workforce—Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots” in a special issue analysis paper. The GAO report supports the points ALPA has made for several years concerning whether there is, or will be, a genuine shortage of airline pilots. To put it very simply, currently there is no shortage of qualified pilots. There is, however, a shortage of qualified pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits. The recent increases in experience required to enter the airline pilot profession, which were crafted with input from industry, labor and government, were made to ensure that the United States airline industry remains the safest in the world. 

Read ALPA’s issue analysis paper here

Download an ALPA infographic that compares entry-level pay for several professions in the U.S. here



ACARS 7.6 Arbitration Final Award

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.


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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Upcoming Dates

2014 DATES

March 11-13

Secretary/Treasurers’ Conference in IAD

March 13-14

Special MEC Meeting in IAD

April 1

Pilot Health & Medical Certification Conference in DCA

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.

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