Magenta Line Friday September 11, 2009

CAL EWR B737

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Magenta Line Friday September 11, 2009

“If you look at the demographics of the base we have about 65% commuters in Newark. Of those 65% there are about rough justice [sic] 200 commuters from Houston to Newark. And if you are going to have a reduction, we didn’t want to force people out of Houston to backfill people that would be reduced here potentially…It’s to try to reduce some commuters…It’s an easier commute, more flights, better weather and fewer delays.” - Captain Fred Abbott, Newark Pilot Meeting, August 12, 2009

Today is Friday, September 11, 2009 and there are 7 items for discussion.

Item 1: Cleveland Air Show

One of our last unity and family awareness events of 2009 was held last weekend at the Cleveland Air Show. Over 600 pilots and their families attended over the 3 days of the show. While the highlight for the crowd was certainly the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, we had our own highlights, too. Jay Pierce, accompanied by many of our committee chairs and members, held daily Q&A sessions, and several of your Local Council representatives held their own “shop-talk”sessions with any pilot or family member who asked.

On the family side, Michelle Bixby and Trish Riggs of the CAL Families For Change were there for the weekend sessions and talked to many spouses about their organization and goals.

CLE SPSC Domicile Operations Officer Chuck Sargent attended all 3 days of activities and worked countless hours in preparation for this event.

Incoming SPSC Chairman Eric Hunter led our planning and participation in the Cleveland Labor Day Parade and worked selflessly on the Air Show event itself.

Your Council 170 Officers would like to especially thank outgoing SPSC Chairman Mike Jones and Anthony LaCanfora for their efforts in making the Air Show a successful event for the pilots and families of Continental Airlines.

Item 2: Colgan Air in the News Again—With an Assist From the CAL MEC

Colgan Air 3407 just won’t rest quietly. Instead of using the information gained from the post-crash investigation in a positive manner, the management of Colgan Air has, instead, stepped up their harassment of the Colgan pilots for doing what might have prevented the crash of 3407: calling in sick or fatigued.

Continental pilots blast Colgan’s response to illness : National : The Buffalo News

This article is enlightening for a number of reasons: it shows that Continental Airlines management continues to eagerly associate itself with every cheap, rock-bottom turboprop operator it can find, regardless of the effect on our passenger’s comfort and safety; it proves that the pilots of Colgan Air continue to do the right thing despite ongoing pressure from their management to fly sick or fatigued; it shows that the CAL MEC is fighting back and being heard in the media; and it brings to light what every Continental pilot has known for years: call in sick too many times for management’s taste and you will be “counseled” and punished for your adherence to the Federal Air Regulations that prohibit any pilot from coming to work physically unfit for duty.

We apparently need to remind management that the passengers of Continental Airlines are the responsibility of Continental Airlines from their point of origin to their destination. While management may subcontract our flying to substandard operators, the responsibility for the convenience, comfort, and safety of our passengers always remains with Continental Airlines.

As the fifth cornerstone of The Go-Forward Plan says: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Item 3: AmeriJet Pilots Tentatively Agree—But Continue to Hold the Line

We got this from the FedEx MEC:

“Though no official public announcement has been made, the FDXSPC has confirmed that a tentative agreement has been reached between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and AmeriJet International. AmeriJet pilots will remain on strike until a collective bargaining agreement is voted on over this coming weekend and is ratified by the membership.

Votes will be counted on Sunday, September 13 at 500 p.m. and we will be advised of the outcome – whether the pilots of AmeriJet will go back to work or continue on strike. Until such time, please continue your support of our brother and sisters at AmeriJet with help on their picket line at MIA and your words of encouragement.”

What we like about this story is that, despite a tentative agreement, the pilots of AmeriJet will continue to walk and hold the line until the votes are counted. They have refused to let management off the hook until there is actual agreement among the parties.

Our congratulations to the pilots of AmeriJet for a job well-done. Your Local Council 170 will continue to support them until such time as a contract is ratified—and beyond.

Item 4: “No ‘Post-It’ Notes Allowed”

We have been made aware of a disturbing trend at some of our outstations: our professional flight crews are being browbeaten by local staff for writing-up MX issues. The locals don’t want any broken airplanes to affect their on-time departure stats—so instead of fixing the airplanes where they broke, they are trying to get our crews to pass along distress messages by Post-It.

The following item is from our Safety Committee:

The Safety Committee has received a number of reports in which an outstation has requested that the flight crew NOT write-up a maintenance discrepancy. Instead, they are requesting that the flight crew leave a note for the outbound flight to carry the write-up back to a hub station for repair. Some of the outstation reasoning is that they do not have enough time to fix the maintenance problem before the outbound flight is scheduled to depart. The flight crew’s response should always be the same: “It’s not my problem.” Follow the proper procedures required by company policy and the FARs.

Placing a maintenance discrepancy in the aircraft logbook is not only essential for safety, but is required by the FARs. If a Post-It note is left and the aircraft departs, then both the flight crew that left the note and the flight crew that took the flight are at fault and the FAA will come after both. An ASAP report will not cover you in this case.

If maintenance is short staffed or marketing schedules ridiculous turn times, again, “It’s not my problem.” Our responsibility to our passengers, fellow pilots, and to the Company is to ensure that there is an accurate maintenance history documented in the aircraft logbook.

Item 5: Request for Committee Volunteers

All of our committees need volunteers. If you are one of the many somewhat selfish and untested among us, if you are interested in committee work, if you have special artistic talents of any kind, or if you just like to chew the legs off your dining room table, we want you to help your fellow EWR pilots. If you are interested or have previously expressed interest via e-mail or a phone call, please confirm your continuing interest in an e-mail to Captain Kaye Riggs, Secretary-Treasurer, LEC 170 at kaye.riggs@alpa.org. Please put your name and the word “Volunteer” in the subject line.


Item 6: Next Meetings

Our next local council meeting has been scheduled for October 28th at the Newark Airport Renaissance Hotel. This is a change from our normal meeting place at the Marriott. There is an ongoing shuttle from the P-4 AirTrain stop. Those driving to the meeting will have their parking validated.

Our next MEC meeting has been scheduled for November 3-5 in Houston.
 

CAL EWR B737

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Item 7: Secretary-Treasurer’s Editorial

September 11, 2001

Those of us of a certain age know exactly where we were when we received the news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The generation before us remembered where they were when the news of Pearl Harbor reached them. Today’s generations remember 911 in the same way—the same denial, the same disbelief, the same gut-churning outrage. While President Kennedy’s assassination was an attack on a man, and Pearl Harbor was an attack on our military assets on a remote Pacific island, 911 was an attack on every one of us as Americans; it took place in our most populous city, it targeted thousands of civilians, and it was carried live on TV.

While hundreds of heroic Police Officers and Firefighters gave their lives that day, no other profession has paid the ongoing price we, as airline pilots, have paid. Continental Airlines management—indeed, management everywhere— lost no time in using the tragedy of 911 to their own advantage. Today, our earning power is about half of what it was 8 years ago, most of us have very little money to look forward to in retirement, and we must endure daily and petty violations at the hands of pretenders in security uniforms around the world.

We have become inured to the loss of the things that were taken from us that day—our pay, our retirement, our rights and freedoms. We no longer notice or comment on the stupidity of collecting all the dangerous liquids like water, shampoo, and toothpaste—and throwing them into one large trash barrel; the silliness of testing our laptop computers for bomb-making residue; or the sight of grandmothers and small children selected for extra screening by the “security” forces occupying our airports.

Most of us have succumbed to a kind of collective amnesia—in the same way the image of the World Trade Center has been removed from many older movies by computer trickery, we have removed our memories of that horrifying day by just not talking about it anymore. Yes, we make mention of it now and then but do we talk about it? Do we discuss the men and women in the twin towers trapped above the impact sites praying for rescue that would never come? Do we mention the paralyzing fear of those hanging from the outside of the towers making the last decision they would ever have to make: death by fire, death by building collapse—or death by jumping? Do we talk about those on the airplanes and in the towers and their final, agonizing cell phone calls to their families?

Like many unpleasant things, the more we push them from our minds the more we can pretend they don’t affect us as they once did. But, as difficult as it may be, 911 must be remembered for eternity. We must remember what we felt when we saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center on live TV, we must remember the speechless horror of watching dozens of people falling from the buildings like the leaves of autumn, and we must remember the ongoing vigils we kept as the overwhelmed rescue teams worked non-stop to find survivors buried in the wreckage of Ground Zero.

To put our past behind us, we must face it. Only when we can look evil in the eyes and not flinch and not turn away, can we say we have mastered it. America faced true evil that day—but has spent the past 8 years turning away. Our troops fight this evil in far-away lands and the only mention of them is when they are added to the warriors Roll of Honor. Here at home, we only think about 911 when we attempt to pass through the farce of airport security.

America is the greatest land, the greatest people, and the greatest source of opportunity our world has ever seen or ever will see. We can defeat the evil sworn to destroy us—but we first must remember that it exists—and then turn to face it.

Please remember our 147 hostages and their families.

“It’s good for the company to have a unified pilot force…If you guys are of all one mind then it does help the negotiations.” - Captain Fred Abbott, Newark Pilot Meeting, August 12, 2009


Captain Jayson Baron, EWR Council 170 Chairman
jayson.baron@alpa.org
610 442-3817

First Officer Tara Cook, EWR Council 170 Vice Chairman
tara.cook@alpa.org
610 220-8904

Captain Kaye Riggs, EWR Council 170 Secretary-Treasurer
kaye.riggs@alpa.org
830 431-0450
 
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