ALPA Hosts Leadership Training Conference

Click on the image to view a photo
slideshow from day 1 of the conference.

February 22, 2010 - Capt. John Prater, ALPA president, welcomed the largest class of newly elected representatives in recent history and opened this year’s Leadership Training Conference with an emphasis on the role they will play in the union’s strategic planning activities coming up at the 2010 Board of Directors meeting this fall. “As a union representative, you don’t represent just the pilots in your domicile or even your airline,” Prater said. “You represent this profession, and this union. You won’t get off the hook by rubberstamping something set in front of you. You’ll be making the decisions that move this union forward.”

The Strategic Planning Committee presented a brief description of how the conference agenda reflects the work of the BOD Delegate Committees at the 2008 Board of Directors meeting. “You are the Board of Directors. You call the shots,” said Capt. William Couette, the vice president of administration, to the 120+ status representatives in the room. “You’re going to be running it this Fall, and you’re going to be telling us where you want the Association to go.” He delivered a 30,000-ft. flyover of ALPA’s governing bodies and binding doctrines in the conference’s first component, ALPA Structure.

Capt. Randy Helling, the vice president of finance, explained to attendees in the afternoon about what the union’s financial status and how the national and local accounts operate. “I don’t need to remind everyone in this room what it was like to be an airline pilot in the last couple of years, and ALPA has not been immune to that carnage,” Helling said. “In 2002, we had $135 million in revenue, whereas in 2009, we’re down to $95 million. Since 9/11, we’ve been reengineering the Association to fit our new financial footprint. We’ve identified the red ink, stopped the bleeding, and are moving forward with increased efficiency.”

Elizabeth Shuler, the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, closed the opening day of the conference by making appeals to ALPA’s newest leaders to involve the younger generations not only in the labor movement, but in union leadership. “We need all hands on deck,” she said. “You yourself should reach out to those who don’t know what it’s like to be in a union. I appeal to you to engage young workers like you never have before.”

The ALPA Leadership Training Conference will run through Thursday, February 25. It’s hosted by the Leadership Conference Committee, including Capts. David Farmer, Mark Moore, Tom Wychor, which falls under the newly-formed Leadership Committee, chaired by Capt. Bill Dressler. Stay tuned for more coverage later this week.