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October 11, 2010 - The 43rd meeting of the ALPA Board of Directors (BOD) commenced this morning with the theme of One Goal, One Vision, One Union.

Opening with national officer reports, ALPA president Capt. John Prater stressed the ultimate goal for ALPA: advancing the piloting profession. To do so takes planning, flexibility and good decision making—similar to leading a union.

“We must be willing to make quick, bold—but prudent—decisions and take calculated risks based on the best information we have available to us. Most of all, we need to maintain maximum situational awareness in all phases of the operation,” he said.

Prater recounted several of ALPA’s recent highlights in collective bargaining, progress in flight- and duty-time regulations, and efforts to reach the next generation of airline pilots. By working together as a union, these achievements were made, he said.

“Our challenges are far too many and far too diverse to need less than a full crew, which includes our national officers, executive vice-presidents, all of you—our ALPA Board of Directors—with hundreds of volunteers and staff experts,” Prater said.

“As sisters and brothers bound by our commitment to our profession and to our union, we must pledge our solidarity and vow to find the absolute best flight plan to secure our members’ collective future. Now is the time for us to work together to create a strategic plan that will encompass our goals and vision for this union,” he said.

ALPA first vice-president Capt. Paul Rice used a Winston Churchill quote, “Having enemies means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life,” to symbolize the union’s ongoing fight for the pilot profession. He talked extensively about the Association’s international efforts to engage global stakeholders, unite with other pilot groups, and protect ALPA member interests. He also highlighted contract gains and other ALPA success stories.

“Just like the experience, trusted relationships, and short- and long-term planning that we count on in the cockpit, our union must be able to marshal these assets to overcome obstacles and seize opportunities so that our members here in North America not onlyh aren’t blindsided, they benefit,” said Rice.

ALPA vice-president—administration/secretary Capt. Bill Couette welcomed the BOD attendees, noting, “As we gather for the next couple of days to plan for the road ahead, I would like to talk about the members who will make the goal of advancing our profession possible.”

Couette identified various ALPA members, pilot groups, and committees making a difference to illustrate the union’s successes since the last BOD meeting. He discussed new IT offerings and the extensive work of the Professional Development Group as examples of the Association’s 2008 strategic plan in action.

ALPA vice-president—finance/treasurer Capt. Randy Helling discussed balance and how it describes the distribution of weight in an aircraft, calm and considered judgment, and the equilibrium necessary to manage the Association’s resources and needs.

“As your national officer who is responsible for the Association’s budget, it’s that accounting definition of balance that really comes into play when, as a union, we must deal with the pressing demands of today and plan for our financial future to ensure that we can meet the unknown challenges of tomorrow.”
The BOD broke to begin this session of strategic planning.

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