The Blink of an Eye

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

It doesn’t seem like four years.

It seems like a blink of an eye, almost, when I first took office as your vice president–finance/treasurer on Jan. 1, 2019. At the same time, a lot has been packed into those four years.

We started our term with a dues reduction. We saw a government shutdown. We experienced the grounding (and later return to service) of the B-737-MAX. And then we had the entire industry just about shut down from the pandemic, prompting a change in how people lived their lives.

Yet through the hard work of our national officers, our pilot volunteers, and our amazing staff, ALPA today is back in a strong financial position—back on track to where we were prepandemic and in prime position for whatever comes next in our industry.

A lot of that, as I’ve said repeatedly, is thanks to the CARES Act and the three iterations of the payroll support program passed by the U.S. Congress. Without that, I don’t know where we’d be as an Association or as an industry. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers and staff who spearheaded our lobbying efforts to make sure the legislation went through and to ensure provisions were included to protect workers.

Throughout my four years, we’ve made great strides in updating policies and creating new financial resources for our members. As I came into office, we were just standing up the Structure, Services, and Finance Review Committee. During my term, the committee has put forth many recommendations that have been approved and become ALPA policy.

The most recent is the MCF Contract Implementation Program (see “ALPA Adds Another Valuable Tool to Its ‘War Chest’” in the September 2022 issue), but we’ve introduced many measures to benefit our pilots and pilot groups, including providing funding toward national volunteer work, providing funding toward ALPA courses, updating spending limits and receipt minimums to match modern costs, and distributing master executive council funds after an airline closure.

Nothing in this world happens alone, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t conclude my final column with a heavy dose of gratitude.

We often say that ALPA is pilot run and staff supported. Staff members are the most dedicated, knowledgeable, and just plain fun people to work with. I’ll be sure to acquaint the next vice president–finance/treasurer with the great assets he’ll have to work with.

I’d like to thank, in particular, the Finance Department, led by Beth Robinson. Thank you for telling me when I might be wrong—and when I was right, supporting my decisions. You’ve all made this great job even greater.

I’d like to thank my family for supporting me throughout the ALPA work I’ve done. I’ve spent countless dinners and family vacations with a phone in my ear—even once while putting on a miniature golf course. My wife, Janet, has truly been the star of this team. She married an airline pilot, which in and of itself was tough enough, and later inherited ALPA on top of it.

My daughters—Ellie and Hannah—were little girls who fell asleep on the floor of a hospitality suite in Hawaii when I started doing ALPA work. They’re now beautiful, successful women I couldn’t be more proud of.

They’ve listened to union business for more than 20 years and have learned the importance of workers’ rights and what a good union can do for a family. I remind them often to never forget that as they make management decisions in their careers.

The people who support us don’t get their names in Air Line Pilot, and they’re not found anywhere in a Section 6 negotiation. But without them and their support, none of the work gets done.

Finally, I’d like to thank the team of national officers I’ve served with: Joe DePete, Bob Fox, Bill Couette, and Russ Sklenka. Gentlemen, it’s been an honor.

I’ve been truly blessed to have been mentored by great ALPA volunteers along the way. One of my mentors passed along some sage advice, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “When you do ALPA work, do it to make peoples’ lives better and treat everyone the same.”

I hope that I’ve done that over my career and specifically over these past four years. My time here has been the most incredible experience, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This article was originally published in the December 2022 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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