Executive Board Conducts Association Business

Board approves Age 60 education initiative.

By Gavin Francis, Staff Writer
Air Line Pilot, November/December, p.14

Members of ALPA’s Executive Board met for that body’s 94th regularly scheduled session in Reston, Va., September 14-15, to consider a number of issues affecting the Association’s members and to address organizational and administrative matters.

ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, opened the meeting with his report to the Executive Board, which detailed many of the important initiatives that the Association is currently undertaking.

Capt. Woerth spoke specifically about the airline industry’s economic troubles and the heavy financial burden that airline pilots have had to bear as a result.

"We’ve been pushing this rock uphill for as long as I can remember," said Capt. Woerth, who suggested that an unresponsive Bush administration had exacerbated the current economic crisis. He noted that participation in ALPA-PAC, the union’s political action committee, was on the rise, and pointed to an unprecedented 110 percent increase in ALPA-PAC-checkoff contributions as an indication of growing commitment among airline pilots to improve the political and economic factors affecting their jobs and retirement prospects.

"Airline pilots have made tremendous sacrifices in the three years since Sept. 11, 2001,"said Capt. Woerth. "We will never forget what’s been taken from us, and who took it. But make no mistake. We intend to get it back."

Throughout the 2-day gathering, the Board broke into committees whose members engaged in debate and prepared final language for proposed resolutions before bringing them before the Board as a whole for discussion and deliberation. The Executive Board also recommended actions for resolutions going to the Board of Directors meeting in October.

The following are actions that the Executive Board approved during the 94th session:

• Age 60—The Executive Board, by unanimous vote, directed ALPA’s President to begin a thorough communications effort to educate U.S. ALPA members about the rationale for the existence of the FAA’s Age 60 rule and the possible implications for the piloting profession of increasing the mandatory retirement age. This education campaign will include a survey of U.S. ALPA members regarding mandatory retirement age issues and members’ views on the Age 60 rule. The President will report on the status of the education campaign and survey results to the May 2005 Executive Board.

The union leaders recognize that some members feel that the time has come to reexamine ALPA’s policy regarding Age 60, even though any change in the mandatory retirement age for FAR Part 121 pilots would require a change in FAA regulations. The Executive Board acknowledges that a significant number of ALPA’s members have experienced erosion in their projected retirement earnings through a variety of factors, including a dramatic drop in their career earnings and reduced defined-benefit plans because of lower-than-expected investment returns, freezing of future benefit accruals, or outright plan termination.

The cost of retiree medical insurance has also dramatically increased in recent years, placing a greater financial burden on pilots without contractually provided retiree medical insurance between mandatory retirement at age 60 and the age at which pilots are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

• MEC and LEC newsletter advertising policy and publication costs—The Executive Board addressed issues related to advertising in ALPA local and master executive council publications and the use and handling of funds resulting from such advertising. The ALPA leaders adapted and applied to LEC and MEC publication the policies and procedures previously mandated for advertising in Air Line Pilot.

The cost associated with printing LEC newsletters will now be charged to the LEC budget rather than to the international union operating account. LECs already budget for the cost of mailing.

For those LECs and MECs that accept advertising, the ad income will flow to the international union for proper accounting purposes and to offset increases in printing and mailing costs that are incurred with the advertising.

Ad income above such costs will be applied to the respective LEC and MEC accounts. No LEC or MEC will be allowed to sell advertising that will create a net revenue loss based on the printing and mailing cost for that particular ad space.

MECs have traditionally budgeted for both printing and mailing of MEC newsletters.

• Flight time/duty time—Following a 1996 BOD directive that there should be a worldwide flight-time limitation that all airline pilots endorse, the Executive Board recommended to the 2004 Board of Directors that ALPA adopt the IFALPA worldwide scheme of flight-time/duty-time rules.

• Strategic planning—The Executive Board recommended that the Board of Directors reaffirm the Association’s long-standing objective of providing representation for all members of the airline piloting profession through organizing independent pilot groups into ALPA or incorporating independent pilots associations into ALPA.

The Executive Board also recommended that the Board of Directors reaffirm the Association’s objective of enhancing capacity within the aviation infrastructure through the National Air Space Modernization program and that ALPA continue to commit requisite resources to NASMOD.

• New EASC—ALPA’s president, Capt. Duane Woerth, nominated and the Executive Board approved Capt. Terry McVenes (US Airways) to replace Capt. John Cox (US Airways) as Executive Air Safety Chairman, effective December 1. Capt. Cox decided to step down from his position. Capt. McVenes had served as Executive Air Safety Vice-Chairman.

• Security Committee restructuring—The Executive Board directed the National Security Committee Structure Review Committee to further develop the NSC structure as proposed in the Review Committee’s report to the Executive Board.

The Review Committee will report back to the Executive Board in May 2005 with a revised structure and policy developed to support it.

• ALPA’s web boards—The Executive Board approved a message board software upgrade and directed the Vice-President-Administration/Secretary and the Electronic Data Processing Advisory Committee to continue reviewing issues related to implementation of May 2004 Executive Board policy changes; they will report their findings to the April 2005 Executive Council.

• Trusteeship and custodianship update—Recognizing that ALPA’s governing bodies have not updated the union’s policy for implementing, overseeing, and ending trusteeship of MECs and LECs since the policy was adopted in 1964, the Executive Board discussed revisions that the Special Representation Structure Review Committee recommended.

The Executive Board recommended that the Board of Directors approve revision of Article XIX, Sections 1-4, and Article XXI, Sections 1-5, of ALPA’s Constitution and By-Laws, with respect to trusteeship and custodianship.

• MCF authorization—The Executive Board authorized an initial allocation of $2 million from the Major Contingency Fund for the Atlantic Southeast MEC’s strike-preparedness, family-awareness, and communications programs.

The MEC was directed to submit a financial operating plan to the Executive Council for approval in accordance with Article IX, Section 14C(2), after ALPA’s President appoints a Strike Oversight Board in accordance with ALPA policy.