- Published: June 10, 2020
PASS Sisters and Brothers:
I’m sure many of you are concerned about the plans for returning to your work facilities in a more permanent way. As I’ve reported before, neither the DOT nor the FAA have attached dates to any of the procedures being formulated for a phased in return to facilities.
Earlier this week, I participated in a briefing that FAA Administrator Dickson conducted with PASS and other unions at the agency. He reviewed with us the matrix that the agency is compiling to guide the reopening of facilities and emphasized that implementation of each of the three phases will be condition based and not time based. The principles for moving from one phase to the next will be transparent, consistent, flexible, and data driven. The agency is developing a dashboard that will monitor conditions in different geographic areas, relying on information, for example, from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering and the National Governors Association. All decisions will be made nationally but implemented locally. We discussed that changing conditions may lead to returning to an earlier phase if necessary.
You will be given ample notice prior to being required to return to work and telework will continue for those employees who are at high-risk of contracting the coronavirus due to underlying medical conditions.
Today we held our weekly call with the agency and discussed some of the plans.
Training: the tentative start date for new or resumed classes in Oklahoma City is the week after the July 4th holiday. Classes will be reduced in size and scheduled based on instructor availability. The FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine is producing an employee handout on what to expect and I asked the agency to look at the cleaning that will be conducted at hotels that employees have to stay in. Where you will be staying is just as important as where you are training.
Since some areas of the country are now seeing spikes in cases of COVID-19, we discussed that the location where employees will be traveling from must be taken into consideration when determining who will be selected to travel for training. None of us want to be responsible for exposing others if we are traveling from a COVID hot spot. Although a class list has not been developed, the plan is to have a list of 90 percent of scheduled classes to resume (based on instructor availability) and notifications of who will attend as soon as possible. Class attendees will be determined based on facility needs. At this time, classes scheduled after July are still on the books.
New hire orientation: In the midst of the pandemic, the FAA is still onboarding new employees, although virtually. As you may know, our collective bargaining agreements (CBA) call for a two-hour briefing with PASS at during new employee orientation and a one-hour briefing locally when employees report to a facility. The two-hour briefing with the union is a required part of a new employee’s orientation and is conducted on duty time. Our national organizer, James Renaldi, has been conducting such briefings online. In order to comply with what is required in our CBAs, the vice president for technical operations has promised to put out a memo to new employees that this two-hour briefing from the union is mandatory.
I will continue to share with you details of the phased reopening of facilities as I receive them. And I ask you to continue to share with PASS any concerns you have moving forward [link to form]. I am confident that the administrator and senior leadership are putting your health and safety first. That has always been the union’s priority, looking out for you and your families.