Carrying Us Through

Weighing In

By Capt. Joseph Genovese, ALPA Vice President–Finance/Treasurer

For the past 10 years, ALPA’s finances have been strong. We have maintained a conservative budget even while our industry was thriving, and we encouraged fiscal responsibility and saving for a rainy day. Unfortunately, much more than just a rainy day has arrived, and we are now having to put our practices to a much tougher test.

As we work through this public-health and economic crisis and our industry is turned upside down, our past efforts have positioned us with the opportunity to withstand this current crisis. But this budget scenario will not always be the case, especially as the effects of the pandemic continue to hit the airline industry—and many of our ALPA brothers and sisters are already feeling the impact.

Although we will not truly know exactly how our budget will be affected next year until all airlines make their operational decisions, we do have some good news to report. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worked its way through the world and our industry, our finances have remained on solid ground. ALPA has canceled multiple meetings and internal events (or has held them virtually) and frozen hiring. These actions, and more, have resulted in our actual expenses falling short of our budgeted expenses so that ALPA has continued to operate in the black through the first five months of 2020.

With the assistance and hard work of our dedicated Finance Department team, we will continue to make tough decisions and create a workable budget within our revenue—one that will also continue to provide the highest possible level of services for our pilots.

Along with being judicious in how we are spending money, we have also made progress in streamlining our financial policies. The Structure, Services, and Finance Review Committee proposed multiple changes to ALPA’s Administrative Manual at the June meeting of the Executive Board. These changes, which the board approved, will bring many of our financial practices up to date and provide flexibility for both master executive councils and local executive councils.

Nearly 20 years have passed since we learned a hard lesson after 9/11 and the bankruptcy era that ensued. Many of us still feel that pain and have the scars to show for it. But we did what was necessary—we became more judicious and more efficient. These actions have carried us through good times and will carry us through what we are facing today.

Prior to my flying career, I worked in the mental-health field, so pilot assistance and pilot well-being are near and dear to my heart—and I believe they are at the heart of what this union stands for.

I know from experience that the stresses of a flying job can build and that you can find yourself wandering around the house “thinking” at all hours of the night trying to solve the world’s problems. It is important to remember that you need to find time to relax, decompress, and, if necessary, ask for help.

ALPA’s Pilot Assistance volunteers—along with the Association’s vast toolbox of resources—are here to help ALPA pilots who are facing challenges during these difficult times.

Part of that toolbox is ALPA’s staff, and I want to thank them for all their hard work. Through everything that has transpired and everything that continues to go on, their work has remained at the same consistently high level we have all come to expect. From a transition to remote work in March to the ongoing transition back to the office that started in June, I have not seen a single hiccup in the service they have provided to our members. It is truly a testament to their abilities and to their professionalism.

There are no guarantees of what the coming months might bring. But I can tell you this: It is the hard work of ALPA pilot volunteers over the past decade and through today that has positioned us to take on whatever may come our way—and to continue providing our more than 63,000 members with the highest level of services.

This article was originally published in the August 2020 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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