ALPA Trains Newly Elected Local Council Leaders

AFL-CIO President Trumka Tells New ALPA Leaders: ‘You’re the Face of Your Union’

2018 Leadership Training Conference

This week, 82 reps from 24 ALPA pilot groups across the United States and Canada are attending the Association’s annual Leadership Training Conference in Herndon, Va.

With the goal of providing the most value as pilot representatives for their members, ALPA’s newest leaders are learning about the resources and capabilities the union provides them as they take on the important responsibility of being a union leader. Strong pilot leadership not only preserves and enforces the important role of unions for the profession, but also serves as a foundation for future generations to come.

“You are here to ensure that the voices of those you represent are heard, as well as to be their voice,” said Capt. Bill Couette, ALPA’s vice president–administration/secretary, during the first of several presentations. Capt. Couette outlined local council officer responsibilities, stressing the basic tenets of open communication with members, professionalism, and transparency in the conduct of union business.

During the four-day conference, attendees will hear presentations from department staff and subject-matter experts, participate in hands-on training scenarios, and share experiences and lessons with fellow members.

Leadership Committee chair Capt. David Farmer (DAL) emphasized, “ALPA accomplishes three main goals—negotiating contracts, enforcing contracts, and protecting pilots who work under that agreement—and promotes and protects the piloting profession. This training was designed to give you the tools to help you accomplish these goals and succeed in your new roles as a local council rep, a member of your MEC, and a member of ALPA’s Board of Directors.”

Attendees were briefed on ALPA’s constitution and governing documents, organizational structure, rules, and policies—all critical components to being an effective and efficient pilot leader. They were also instructed in the use of “Robert’s Rules of Order” to conduct business meetings and practiced in a mock Master Executive Council (MEC) meeting with others.

Reps learned about the importance of external relationships within the U.S. and Canadian government and the industry and how those relationships are directly connected to ALPA’s ability to influence or effectively navigate to successfully represent the voice of the profession.

ALPA’s Economic and Financial Analysis Department provided an airline industry update, and the Representation team covered disciplinary investigation matters. Members of ALPA’s Communications Department educated attendees on how to keep pilots informed and on updates to good social media practices. ALPA’s Engineering and Air Safety Department spoke on the expertise, support, and tools available to ALPA members, including the 24-hour Worldwide Accident/Serious Incident Hotline.

ALPA president Capt. Tim Canoll thanked the group for their volunteerism and spoke about the Association’s system of representative democracy. He stressed the importance of acting on behalf of every council member, from “the pilot who calls you each week to the ones who you pass quietly in the crew room. You are equally responsible to both.”

This newly elected group of local council officers will begin their three-year terms on March 1. Every year, approximately a third of LEC officer positions are up for election.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Tells New ALPA Leaders: ‘You’re the Face of Your Union’

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke to ALPA’s newest leaders at the Leadership Training Conference on Thursday, February 8, extolling the power of working people and detailing the status and struggles of unions.

“We’re the richest nation in the world at our richest time,” said Trumka, yet so many regulations and policies negatively affecting workers are being proposed and implemented. He charged ALPA’s newest leaders with joining the fight to protect their colleagues.

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, addresses the Leadership Training Conference attendees

“We have no other fidelity than to protect workers,” Trumka said to the new leaders. “That’s our job every day. You’re the first line of defense—you’re the backbone of power in the American labor movement. … You’re the face of your union.”

Trumka thanked attendees for volunteering, saying simply, “You stepped forward when someone needed to step forward.” And he reiterated the message ALPA’s Leadership Committee has been communicating during the conference: “Listen to your members and talk to your members; that’s the key to a successful labor union.”

During Trumka’s talk, he touched on the economy, politics, labor history, legal challenges, and international affairs. He spoke about working with both the current and past presidential administrations in the United States, and pointed out that the AFL-CIO operates much like ALPA’s “pilot-partisan” philosophy—whether a politician supports the American worker matters, not whether there’s an R or a D after his or her name. “Those that support our issues get our support,” he said.

Throughout his talk he impressed upon attendees the importance of their jobs and the importance of unions. “Our voice is more needed right now than ever before in our lifetime,” he told them. “Life hasn’t been easy for the American worker, but we’ve stayed strong. And that’s due to people like you in the grass roots.”

“Working people are the most powerful force in this nation and around the world,” Trumka concluded. “We built this country … wake her up every day … make her run … repair her when she breaks … and put her to bed at night. We’re gonna take her back for the working people so everybody gets a fair shot.”

Watch for additional coverage in the March issue of Air Line Pilot.

Read the latest Air Line Pilot (PDF)