- Published: March 27, 2020
PASS Brothers and Sisters:
To say it has been a busy week for all of us would be an understatement. We’ve had numerous conference calls with the FAA, including several today. While we are still hearing sporadic reports of issues in the workplace and lack of timely communication with PASS, we have seen the agency come a long way in responding to this national emergency and to your concerns.
Air travel is sharply down across the board which has made it easier to get more of you on telework or working remotely. However, we know that has led to strains on the Pulse Secure network and the Office of Information and Technology has been working to increase bandwidth to improve accessibility and accommodate the spike in employees who are teleworking.
A new checklist for when and how to notify employees and their union representatives about possible exposure in the workplace has been developed and this should alleviate the lingering communications issues.
Social Distancing and Shifts: Air Traffic will soon implement new schedules to create more separation within the work place and allow natural distancing and limit the overlap that occurs between shifts. It was determined that a similar plan was not necessary for Technical Operations with the increase in teleworking and remote working. It is not necessary for your shifts to align with other ATO employees.
Facility Cleaning and Supplies: The agency has developed a three-tiered approach for cleaning facilities and is still working on national contracts for cleaning.
Cleaning supplies continue to be shipped out to facilities. Over 2,000 one-gallon hand sanitizer bottles began shipping out today and the agency has procured almost 50,000 additional bottles of hand sanitizer that will arrive within two weeks. The FAA will work with PASS on strategies for distributing these items to employees at remote sites. Shipments from the Logistics Center were sent out to all districts yesterday and the districts are finalizing plans to send out supplies, including possible overnight shipping to remote facilities. Second and first level managers are advised when supplies are delivered and I asked that our union reps be included as well, to which the agency agreed.
Maintenance Alerts: A new Maintenance Alert was issued today reducing the amount of periodic maintenance (PM) and hardware/software modifications to be conducted. This alert supersedes any previous alerts, particularly regarding PMs. If your frontline manager tries to direct you differently, show them this alert dated March 27, 2020. Previous alerts should have been replaced with this one on Tech Net.
Avoiding Skin Contact with Equipment: Air Traffic is finalizing procedures for controllers to use stylus pointers on certain displays and to use nitrile gloves on some equipment screens. However, the agency is concerned that there may be damage to equipment from the use of a stylus. Discussions around this issue are continuing. I also raised concerns about our tech ops personnel handling possibly contaminated surfaces. This may be alleviated once supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are in each facility.
COVID-19 Screening and Assessment: PASS has reviewed the screening and assessment questionnaire for employees in an environment exposed to COVID-19 and provided input back to the agency today.
Self-Quarantine and Leave: The FAA clarified the use of leave if employees need to self-quarantine. If you are teleworking and it is necessary to self-quarantine but you are not sick (such as you were exposed but no symptoms) then continue teleworking. If you ARE sick but not confirmed to have COVID-19, then you should take sick leave. If it is mandatory or you are told to self-quarantine you will be placed on administrative leave.
Again, I believe we have made great progress this week as we work to protect you, your families and the safe operation of the NAS.