Pilots Succeed Together

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

At last month’s Executive Board, I updated your master executive council (MEC) chairs on ALPA’s latest steps along the long road to financial strength over the last decade or so. It’s been a collective effort. Every single volunteer—from the national officers to MEC and local executive council (LEC) representatives—has a duty to the pilots we work for to spend their money wisely.

Looking back, the true breadth of what we’ve accomplished becomes even more impressive. We should all be extremely proud of the road we’ve taken, the mountain we’ve climbed since we first started our long path back to financial solvency. Today our finances are strong, and our collective will and fiscal responsibility have gotten us here.

Earlier in October, I spoke at the Retirement & Insurance (R&I)Seminar; the meeting’s theme was “Pilots Succeed Together,” and it continues to resonate with me. But this idea doesn’t apply just to the R&I world. It applies to so much within our Association.

And perhaps nowhere is this more applicable than with ALPA’s finances. A decade ago during difficult financial times in the airline industry, we had to work together and use sound, conservative financial judgement to provide the services our pilots needed while still staying within our limited budget. It took everyone pulling in the same direction to keep ALPA rolling.

Over that decade, we’ve kept on rolling—slowly at first, and then with greater momentum as the economy improved and we were able to negotiate new and enhanced contracts. But by keeping the same conservative style of budgeting, we’ve been able to not only maintain and even increase the services we provide our pilots but also take some necessary steps for the future. We completed a much-needed network infrastructure improvement with Project AMBER, and we’re in the final stretch of a necessary effort to recapitalize important assets such as the Major Contingency Fund (MCF).

And starting Jan. 1, 2020, dues will be reduced from 1.90 percent to 1.85 percent.

Last year, ALPA’s Executive Board created the Structure, Services, and Finance Review (SSAFR) Committee, which was initially tasked with reviewing these four topics:

  1. MCF and Operating Contingency Fund (OCF) levels;
  2. Allocations among master executive council, local executive council, Administrative & Support, and OCF accounts;
  3. Funding for national committees; and
  4. Procurement policies.

The committee’s goals, generally speaking, were to look at how to better spend our pilots’ money, how to get more people involved in volunteering, and to bring our spending limits and restrictions into the 21st century and allow for straightforward and beneficial spending rules in our MEC and LEC budget accounts. Since the initial tasking, the Executive Council has also added a series of additional topics to SSAFR’s agenda.

The committee met several times and had a number of recommendations for the Executive Board to consider at its October meeting. Among the recommendations (all of which were approved by the Executive Board):

  • Additional funding to national committees to allow them to fund flight pay loss for all committee volunteers, not just the chair and vice chair.
  • Additional funding for MECs and LECs to fund flight pay loss for volunteers attending conferences, seminars, or other training at ALPA for their volunteer positions.
  • Requiring MECs to define, in policy, the amount of full-time flight pay loss a pilot can accrue, as well as the value of a day, and using that amount for an MEC pilot when receiving flight pay loss funds for national committees.
  • Adding four additional authorized expense categories for LECs.
  • Updating expense report policies and procurement policies to bring monetary values up to date.

The work of SSAFR continues, so expect to see many more recommendations and changes in the future.

If we continue to be responsible stewards of our pilots’ money and work together, we’re going to continue along the successful path we’ve forged and do more great things.

With ALPA’s leadership, our dedicated pilot volunteers, our solid financial footing, and 63,000 strong standing as one, we will succeed.

Together.

This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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