In This Update

 

 

 

   Message From the Chairman

 

Dear Fellow Pilots:

 

The company has reported an increase in pilot sick leave and resulting flight cancellations.  I write to tell you that if anyone is considering or feels that they may have improperly utilized sick leave, they must cease doing so immediately – not only because it endangers our union but also because it threatens our ability to achieve our central goal -- the conclusion of a favorable Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA).  If we continue down this path, we hand the company the opportunity to be relieved of any pressure to resolve these negotiations quickly, and we risk significantly delaying the conclusion of a JCBA. 

 

The company is also stating that some pilots have declined to volunteer for junior/senior manning in order to put pressure on the company in connection with the JCBA negotiations.  The Court’s injunction specifically prohibits us from a “concerted refusal to accept voluntary   . . . flying” and any such concerted refusal to fly must also immediately cease. 

 

As you know, we are fully and completely focused on concluding a JCBA and have applied all of our resources to accomplishing this task.  We have concluded that a meaningful deadline is the only way to push the parties to agreement, and we have been working in close coordination with ALPA National to obtain a release from the NMB to create the necessary pressure to bring about an agreement.  But make no mistake:  if the court finds that we have engaged in an improper sick out, or any other improper economic pressure activity, our ability to obtain a release or conclude a JCBA will be in serious jeopardy.  The NMB has the power to delay a release, and the court has the power to forestall a pilot strike – even if the NMB releases the parties.  Improper sick leave activity or other activity weakens our position in negotiations and makes it much more difficult to obtain a JCBA. 

 

Simply stated, improper use of sick leave or decisions that impact operations in order to pressure the company to threaten everything we have been trying to accomplish in recent months.  Any such activity must stop.  Instead, we must continue to behave just as we have done for the past four years.  Continue to do your jobs with the professionalism each of you has demonstrated for so long.    

 

Captain Ellis’ message yesterday directing that we provide a doctor’s note and coordinate with Flight Operations regarding sick leave calls in response to this situation raises several issues, and I assure you that we will raise those issues with the company.  We do not agree that the company is permitted to issue a broad directive like this, and we do not believe the company is permitted to require that you speak with the Flight Office concerning your medical status other than regarding the duration of your need to be absent.  We believe instead that such communications must continue to be, as they have been in the past, matters between United Medical, the pilot and his physician.  We intend to tell management that they are wrong.  If they do not change their position, we will tell you what you may or may not be able to do under existing law, and we will of course fight the company in the grievance process.   A copy of my letter to the Company on this issue is attached.

 

In the meantime, keep track of any expenses you incur and notify your LEC Grievance Committee of your experience and costs.  As for the call to the Flight Office, we will be issuing to you by no later than tomorrow what may be appropriately discussed in such a call and what you are entitled to respectfully decline to answer. 

 

For now, remember this:

 

If you are not fit to fly, comply with Captain Ellis’ directive.  We will challenge those aspects of the directive with which we don’t agree and we will advise you of the outcome of these challenges. 

 

If you are not sick, go to work, behave professionally, and together we will achieve the JCBA we deserve. 

               

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

 

We are United,

 

 

Captain Jay Heppner

Chairman, United Master Executive Council

 

Attachment:  Letter to D. McKeen

 

 

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   Letter From SPSC Chairman Captain Pieter Velzeboer: P2P Program

 

To My Fellow Pilots,

 

Absent an Agreement in Principle on the JCBA, a strike ballot will open on Friday, June 29. Details will be forthcoming.

 

The MEC Strategic Planning and Strike Committee (SPSC) will launch a major effort to make trained Pilot to Pilot (P2P) volunteers available to the pilots beginning tomorrow, June 26. In conjunction with our Continental counterparts, these P2P volunteers will be stationed in numerous locations throughout our system to help answer your questions regarding the Strike Authorization Ballot.  Our mission:  to provide answers to your questions regarding the strike ballot and to channel any concerns of yours to the MEC.  Additionally, the volunteers will be asking our pilots to verify the contact information they currently have on file with ALPA.

 

We plan to have P2P presence in all the domicile flight planning areas, except JFK and EWR.  The P2P volunteers can be identified by a RED LANYARD in Ops and will have a private, non-company computer to assist them in their tasks.  We will also have P2P volunteers in as many domestic layover hotels as practicable.  We will have a presence at the following hotels: SFO-Doubletree Airport and Hilton downtown, IAH Marriott, EWR Marriott, ORD Hyatt O’Hare, LAS Westin, BOS Logan Hilton, SAN Westin, LAX Renaissance and Belamar, and the IAD Marriott. The volunteers can be identified by special RED SHIRTS and will hold court in a suitable place in the hotel to answer your questions.  Look for the P2P banner opposite the signup page in the UAL sign in binder and look for the pilot in the RED SHIRT with the ALPA insignia and “Pilot to Pilot” lettering.

 

Here is the P2P schedule for the coming week.

 

Tuesday, June 26  
Ops Time
LGA Ops  0500-1200
IAD Ops 1400-2100
ORD Ops 0500-1200
DEN Ops 0700-1400
LAX Ops 0500-1200
SFO Ops 0500-1200
SEA Ops 0500-1200
   
Hotels  
SFO Doubletree 1600-2000
SFO Hilton 1600=2000
ORD Hyatt 1600-2000

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 27  
Ops Time
LGA Ops  0500-1200
IAD Ops 1400-2100
ORD Ops 0500-1200
DEN Ops 0700-1400
LAX Ops 0500-1200
SFO Ops 0500-1200
SFO Ops 1400-1200
SEA Ops 0500-1200
   
Hotels  
SFO Doubletree 1600-2000
SFO Hilton 1600=2000
ORD Hyatt 1600-2000

 

 

 

Thursday, June 28

 

Ops

Time

LGA Ops 

0500-1200

IAD Ops

0500-1200

IAD Ops

1400-2100

ORD Ops

0500-1200

DEN Ops

0700-1400

SFO Ops

0500-1200

SFO Ops

1400-1200

 

SEA Ops

0500-1200

 

 

Hotels

 

SFO Doubletree

1600-2000

SFO Hilton

1600=2000

ORD Hyatt

1600-2000

IAD Dulles Marriott

1600-2000

SAN Westin

1600-2000

Friday, June 29

 

Ops

Time

IAD Ops

1400-2100

SFO Ops

0500-1200

SFO Ops

1400-1200

SEA Ops

0500-1200

 

 

Hotels

 

SFO Doubletree

1600-2000

SFO Hilton

1600=2000

SAN Westin

1600-2000

 

Saturday, June 30  
Ops Time
IAD Ops 1400-2100
SFO Ops 0500-1200
SFO Ops 1400-1200
   
Hotels  
SFO Doubletree 1600-2000
SFO Hilton 1600=2000
SAN Westin 1600-2000

 

Sunday, July 1

 

Ops

Time

IAD Ops

1400-2100

SFO Ops

0500-1200

SFO Ops

1400-1200

 

 

Hotels

 

SFO Doubletree

1600-2000

SFO Hilton

1600=2000

 

 

 

This is a major effort on the part of the Master Executive Council (UALMEC) to provide an informed and trained peer to answer any questions you have regarding the strike ballot and other areas of concern as time permits.  This vote is important as it sends the message you carry in you to the MEC, the company and your fellow pilots.  It is your reflection of your feelings about the pace of negotiations and the attitude displayed by the company towards you.  You will send a message not only by voting, for participation is the key; the result is critical as well: For a strike or against a strike.  Either way it is incumbent upon you and your fellow pilots to base your vote on facts and not fiction.  Our volunteers have had instruction on the Railway Labor Act (RLA) and other matters that bear on this ballot. I hope you will ask them your questions and they can dispel any misunderstandings you may have regarding this most important vote.

 

I ask if you like the results and individual contact of the Pilot to Pilot program, that you volunteer to participate in the program.  We will work with your local elected representatives to get you trained. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration in this most important matter.  I will see you on the line.

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

 

Pieter M. Velzeboer

Chairman, MEC Strategic Planning and Strike Committee

 

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   Reuters: FAA Fire, US Storms Cancel, Delay Weekend Flights

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fire at an air traffic facility in New Jersey on Friday knocked out electronics that help coordinate flights into and out of airports, and airlines said the glitch worsened a day of heavy delays and cancellations triggered by storms in the eastern United States.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration FAA.L said the early afternoon EDT.L fire at its technical center in Atlantic City knocked out servers and left some automated systems used to efficiently communicate the status of airport ground operations temporarily unavailable.

 

With digital information unavailable, airlines could not plan and track their flights as quickly as they normally would at the start of another busy summer weekend for travelers, especially in and out of New York, the world's busiest air space.

 

The FAA said its ability to direct flights in the air was unaffected and backup data kicked in and offered some relief for affected operations.

 

But the agency's sprawling command center outside of Washington mainly had to coordinate airport conditions with other agency facilities and airlines via telephone, which maintained safe operations but slowed communications for thousands of flights.

 

On a clear day, the FAA outage probably would have been less apparent with airport conditions more predictable. But heavy thunderstorms prompted the FAA to ground or delay flights in New York temporarily for safety, leading to changes in airport operations.

 

Any major delay in New York will affect flights elsewhere, especially in other East Coast cities.

 

Delta Air Lines alone canceled 300 flights. United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways and JetBlue Airways canceled large numbers of flights as well.

 

The explosion and fire that witnesses said generated towering flames forced evacuation of the FAA center and also interrupted the agency's Internet, including its www.fly.faa.gov website and emails.

 

Atlantic City's airport adjacent to the fire-damaged facility closed temporarily, State Police said.

 

The cause of the fire was under investigation and FAA data systems were not fully operational as of Friday night.

 

Before the fire, all three big New York-area airports halted traffic for a time while storms passed through the area, setting in motion a ripple effect of service problems throughout the day that would worsen after the FAA fire, airlines said.

 

Bad weather also affected flights in San Francisco.

 

United told passengers that weather and FAA-related flight delays and cancellations would continue into Saturday at New York-area airports, Philadelphia and Washington.

 

Delta canceled 300 flights, while JetBlue Airways said it canceled nearly 70. US Airways reported 46 mainline and more than 200 Express flight cancellations. All three blamed weather and the FAA outage.

 

American Airlines advised passengers via Twitter of long waits in the Northeast due to the FAA glitch and storms, which generally are the primary reason for delays and cancellations industry wide.

 

"We appreciate your patience," American tweeted to its passengers.

 

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  UAL v. ALPA: Preliminary Injunction

The United States District Court has issued a preliminary injunction. ( Click Here to read the Preliminary Injunction Order. Click Here to read the Memorandum Opinion and Order). The injunction enjoins ALPA, the individual defendants, and all persons and organizations acting by, in concert with, through or under them, or by and through their orders, from calling, permitting, instigating, authorizing, encouraging, participating in, approving or continuing any interference with United's airline operations, including but not limited to any strike, work stoppage, sick-out, slowdown, work to rule campaign, concerted refusal to accept voluntary or overtime flying, or other concerted refusal to perform normal pilot operations in violation of the Railway Labor Act.

The Court has directed that all United pilots resume their normal individual working schedules and practices, and ALPA is hereby instructing all pilots to cease and desist from engaging in any slowdown, sick-out, work to rule campaign, refusal to accept voluntary or overtime flying, or other concerted refusal to conduct pilot operations in the normal manner. With this message ALPA is instructing that you cease and desist all such activity and cease and desist from all statements or communications encouraging such conduct.

We must comply with the Court's direction. This is about all of us, because each of us will be at risk of court fines or company discipline if we engage in any Court-prohibited activity or if we encourage others to do so. Do not engage in any form of sick-out, improper use of sick leave, improper use of fatigue calls, slowdown activity such as intentional delays in the operation, pressure or harassment of other pilots for taking overtime flying, concerted refusal to accept junior/senior manning, or any other form of economic pressure, and do not encourage others to do any of these things. We must resume normal individual working schedules and practices. Again, these are requirements of the Court, and we must comply starting immediately.

 

United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association

9550 W. Higgins Road, Suite 1000

Rosemont, Illinois 60018 | 847/292-1700

www.ualmec.org