- Published: April 01, 2020
PASS Sisters and Brothers
We continue to have regular, daily contact with the FAA.
Yesterday, Region IV Vice President Mike Gonzales, National Secretary-Treasurer Carlos Aguirre, Region IV National Assistants Mark Kimmel and Dave Schumacher and our national AFS safety representative Brent Weckwerth held a telecon with the Flight Standards Leadership Board (FSLB). They were briefed on several items of concern to our AVS members.
Positive Tests and Facilities: The Region IV team received a briefing on the current status of Flight Standards employees who have been tested or infected with COVID-19. It was discussed that specific Flight Standards field offices could improve their communications and facility disinfection. The FSLB requested to be notified if certain field office managers operate independent of what is being directed by senior management.
Telework and Government Equipment: While many Flight Standards offices are still operational, telework is being maximized. Guidance has been provided to employees for changing phone and email messages indicating that operators and other customers can get assistance to avoid walk-ins. They also discussed the status of FAA smartphones and tablets for teleworking employees and the use of Zoom as a tool for conducting meetings. It is worth noting that Zoom remains an option to fulfill work responsibilities rather than a requirement.
Personal Protective Equipment and Disinfecting Products: With so many Flight Standards employees on telework and field office access reduced to a minimum, the FSLB informed PASS that distribution of these products is not as essential and being distributed based on need. This is a continuous challenge.
If you are an AVS member and are being required to report to a field office, please let PASS know the situation in your facility and the actions taken by local management.
On today’s call with the Technical Operations leadership a number of issues were raised and discussed.
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center: There have been reports of COVID-19 exposure at the MMAC and the agency confirmed today that cleaning supplies are available on site and the affected areas are being disinfected properly.
PASS Notification About Exposures: Unfortunately, the exposure at the MMAC was not transmitted to PASS following the proper protocols, and proper communications continues to be an issue. The FAA’s Joint Crisis Action Team (JCAT) is supposed to notify PASS when they are holding telecons to discuss facility exposure and that has not been happening. The vice president for technical operations promised to raise the issue with JCAT and have our regional vice presidents added to the telecon notification emails. RVPs will then disseminate that information to our lower level reps.
Periodic Maintenance (PM): The latest maintenance alert extends the reduced maintenance guidance until April 12. Some frontline managers are still looking at PM metrics on the dashboard. Senior management has instructed that this should not occur and this will be reinforced. They have been told specifically that a missed PM for a few weeks does not equal failure. If your frontline manager is still following the dashboard for PM or indicating that you have somehow ‘failed,’ please let PASS know using our form. Referring to the maintenance alerts for reduced maintenance activities as a “moratorium” has caused some confusion.
Personal Protective Equipment/Masks: The use of N95 masks was discussed and both parties agreed they should be reserved for medical personnel since the country is seeing a shortage in some areas. The agency is looking at the availability of dust masks and making them available for voluntary use. There have been news reports about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reconsidering its guidance on the use of masks for the general public and if the CDC revises its stand, or local authorities start to require the use of masks, the FAA will need to address the issue.
Telework: There have been some reports of management requiring daily reports on what tasks have been accomplished while teleworking. We have provided the agency with specific information on those cases and they are looking into it. It was expressed that this is a time for compassion and trust rather than scrutinizing employees who are teleworking.
Shipment of Styluses for Equipment: Styluses have been procured and are being shipped to the large operational facilities for distribution in the same manner as other supplies. A second shipment will be based on identified need in the field; thereafter, facilities will have to find them locally. Air Traffic thanked our Tech Ops employees for moving this issue forward.
I think we are continuing to make great strides but as I have said on some of your local telecons, please continue to submit issues you are seeing in the field so that we can address them in real time with the agency. Your safety and that of your families remain our top priority.