Pilots Continue Tradition of Government Affairs Involvement
United pilots continue their long tradition of involvement in government affairs. Taking advantage of relationships cultivated on Capitol Hill throughout the years, United pilots marched on the front lines—including a large number of United pilots marching in front of the White House in May—battling the many threats to airline pilots’ careers, including foreign ownership, the U.S. government’s failure to enforce Open Skies agreements, flag-of-convenience schemes, and the absence of common-sense laws requiring secondary cockpit barriers on all airliners. United pilots have constantly been engaged by participating in meetings with Members of Congress, taking part in ALPA’s Calls to Action, and contributing to the Association’s Political Action Committee (ALPA-PAC) and the United Pilots Political Action Committee (UPPAC).
United pilots have a reputation of being politically astute. When called upon to step up and participate in the political process, United pilots have always answered the bell. They are well-known by representatives in Washington, D.C., where our voice is respected and heard.
United pilots last year were honored with the J.J. O’Donnell Trophy, which recognizes ALPA pilot groups that, through new-hire participation and increased donations from pilots on the seniority list, prioritizes ALPA-PAC during the previous year. Last year, 31 United new-hire classes had 100 percent participation in ALPA-PAC.
New MEC Officers Take Office
In March 2016, Captain Todd Insler, a 22-year veteran of United Airlines and longtime ALPA volunteer, was elected chairman of the United MEC. Captain Bob Fox, a 19-year United veteran, began his second term as MEC vice chairman; First Officer Bill Neveu, also a 19-year UAL veteran, began his first term as MEC secretary; and Captain Rick Cameron, a 20-year United veteran, began his second term as MEC treasurer.
“Defending pilot careers is not just a job but a great source of pride for me,” said Captain Insler, who previously served the United pilots as MEC Grievance Committee chairman. “Results are achieved through collaborative efforts. Leadership and unity are key. And, together, we must work to defend our agreement, focus on unifying our pilots and working to inspire those we represent.
“We stand up for our pilots to ensure our collective voice is heard. We work to make people whole, to protect their livelihoods and thus their families. At the end of the day, we work together to make people’s lives better. This is the opportunity we all have before us.”
United Pilots Active in Recruiting New Hires
On the hiring front, the MEC remained active in recruiting new-hire pilots for United Airlines this past year. The MEC hosted a series of successful fee-for-departure (FFD) pilot open houses, which helped potential United pilots learn what it takes to get on a United flight deck. Behind the leadership of the MEC National Affairs Steering Committee, the MEC worked with United Human Resources and Pilot Recruitment personnel to host a series of webinars and conferences for ALPA’s FFD pilots and friends and family members of United pilots to educate them on the interview and hiring process at the airline.
In addition to helping fellow ALPA pilots at FFD airlines join the ranks at United, the MEC believes it owes a debt to military pilots who have served our nation. Helping them become pilots with United is one way of repaying that debt. United has a proud history of filling its flight decks with military veterans.
United MEC Opens Its Doors to Other ALPA MECs
The United MEC has welcomed a number of fellow ALPA pilot groups—including Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet, Jazz, JetBlue, and Spirit—to its new MEC conference center in Chicago, Ill. The conference center’s central location makes it optimal for many ALPA pilot groups to conduct MEC meetings, strategic planning conferences, Negotiating Committee meetings, and other gatherings.