ALPA Annual Negotiations Training Seminar Begins Today

Jeff MacDonald, ALPA manager of Representation, welcomes attendees to ALPA’s annual negotiations training seminar.

May 18, 2010 - ALPA pilot group negotiators, leadership teams, and other support committees met in Herndon, Va., today to begin ALPA’s annual four-day Negotiations Training Seminar.

Attendees are participating in a series of lectures, hands-on training exercises, and a detailed case study and simulation to gain a better understanding of the necessary ingredients for successful collective bargaining.

“This training is designed to give the attendees as much pilot power as possible,” Jeff MacDonald, ALPA manager of Representation and instructor at the event, said as he welcomed the attendees. He emphasized the importance of preparation and training pilot leaders to handle any negotiating situations.

“Negotiators deal with some of the most challenging aspects of union work but are contributing some of the greatest value to their fellow pilots,” MacDonald said. “Our goal during these training sessions is to prepare pilot leaders with the information they need in order to get pilots the best possible contract.”

The course includes modules on: developing the leadership team for bargaining, building consensus, the legal and political framework of negotiations, developing a negotiations timeline, managing the negotiating table, techniques for constructive decision making, implementing an effective communications program, and the unique challenges of bargaining for benefits and work rules. Participants test the main teaching points by engaging in a full-day bargaining simulation.

Bruce York, ALPA’s director of Representation, emphasized that in addition to executing well at the negotiating table, pilot groups need “trusted leadership and negotiating teams, a strategic and negotiating plan that pilots understand, and a communications program that allows useful information to flow to and from line pilots.”

Approximately three dozen ALPA members, representing negotiating committees from many of the Association’s master executive councils, are attending this year’s event. Capt. David Warass, Comair Negotiating Committee member, is attending the seminar for the second time. “The value of information that can be learned from the experienced negotiators and staff during this training is priceless,” Warass said. “The information we learn here and apply to our negotiations will help us greatly.”

This year’s program includes guests from the Australian International Pilots Association (AIPA) representing approximately 3,000 pilots at Qantas. Philip Van Den Heever, executive director of AIPA, said, “Our contract expires at the end of this year and we are quickly coming up on another round of negotiations. AIPA does not presently have a structured negotiations training program, so we were eager to learn from ALPA’s experts.”

In addition to case studies, the agenda for the rest of the week includes presentations from the union’s Economic and Financial Analysis, Retirement and Insurance, Legal, and Communications departments.