Weighing In: Making Changes to Better Represent You

By Capt. Bill Couette, ALPA Vice President–Administration/Secretary

The Air Line Pilots Association, International is one that adapts as our industry and world continue to change. Technology plays an important role in our aircraft and in our lives. Smartphones and other devices have become part of our everyday experience. In fact, reports say that in 2015 more than 204 million people in the U.S. and Canada are smartphone users.

As such, ALPA has developed electronic membership cards that will be available for Android and iPhone devices through the existing ALPA app. (You can download the app at www.alpa.org/resources/alpa-apps.) You’ll now have your ALPA member number at your fingertips to access real-time information directly from the union’s membership database.

As your vice president–administration/secretary, one of my responsibilities is overseeing ALPA’s Membership Committee, which works to address the needs of the Association’s members.

The Membership Committee brought forth a resolution to the Executive Board to replace the printed ALPA membership card with an electronic one. The board approved the resolution in May, and the IT Department has worked with the committee to ensure the timely release of this convenient and cost-efficient product. An electronic card eliminates printing and mailing costs as well as the need for additional mailings when you move within classifications, when your airline of employment changes, or when a company name changes due to a merger or business decision.

If you do need a copy of your card to demonstrate proof of membership, the app makes printing one easy. If you prefer a physical card, you can contact ALPA’s Membership Administration Department and ask that a card be mailed to you. Keep in mind that these physical cards will continue to include expiration dates, so you’ll need to contact ALPA each time you need a replacement.

The current physical membership cards expire on Dec. 31, 2015. Membership Administration will begin issuing new cards (which will expire on Dec. 31, 2019) as early as October 1 so that those ALPA pilots who prefer a physical card will receive one before the year ends.

Finally, your membership card provides you with the information you need to vote. So if it’s time to elect your local council officers, take a moment to read more about the voting process in Section 90 of the Association’s Administrative Manual, available on the members-only site of www.alpa.org. Make an effort to get involved in the nomination and election process—which ALPA has made a little simpler by making your personal membership information easier to access. By making your voice heard, ALPA will continue to be an organization that truly speaks for its members.

Ballot Season Opens

For the one-third of ALPA local councils with terms ending on Feb. 29, 2016, ballot season is under way. Three years ago, the overall turnout for nominations was 9.51 percent, and voter turnout was 31.93 percent. I’m challenging the voting members of each council to increase their participation in all phases of nominations and elections. Members of each council who are part of this election cycle will receive an e-mail from me with more information about the elections in their council.

All voting members of a council where elections are required will be mailed a nomination ballot no later than September 10. Nomination ballots should be returned to the council chairman before the scheduled date of the local council meeting so that they can be counted.

After nominations are completed, an online election for representatives will be scheduled. For any council with two or more representatives, members will receive notification of an additional ballot to elect local council officers.

The local council representatives who are elected this fall will become members of their pilot group’s master executive council (MEC). As members of the MEC, they represent their local council members at MEC meetings. The elected representatives are also members of ALPA’s Board of Directors (BOD), which will convene in October 2016 in Washington, D.C., at its biennial meeting. The BOD is ALPA’s highest governing body.

The Association’s representation structure and democratic process allow each member to have his or her voice heard. Let your voice be heard through your participation in the process of nominating and electing your local council representatives and officers.

If you would like to campaign for office, please get the word out to the voters in your council. To learn more about candidates’ rights and how you can distribute your message, visit www.alpa.org/campaignmailings.

This article is from the September 2015 issue of Air Line Pilot magazine, the Official Journal of the Air Line Pilots Association, International—a monthly publication for all ALPA members.