August 23, 2013 // Facility Spotlight: Engineers Southwest Region
The Region X (NRX) Engineers Southwest (ESW) NATCA local has 125 NATCA members out of 465 employees. NATCA ESW Facility Representative Jeff Tyler said that the last 24 members have joined after the furlough crisis in April 2013, due to their concerns about sequestration in general. He said the new consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was recently signed (June 2), and the pay increase associated with that really boosted NATCA’s image with a lot of their employees. He especially thanked the NATCA contract team for their help in making that possible.
“We’ve been in a membership drive and it was very satisfying to see a lot of existing employees finally joining,” said ESW Facility Representative Jeff Tyler. “The message finally does get through.”
In addition to the engineers and architects, there are eight Bargaining Units (BUs) within ESW. These include:
- Aircraft Certification, which is also the home base of the rotor-craft directorate and Bell Helicopter;
- ARC BU, including accounting, logistics, and local IT;
- 2,152 Staff Specialists, located in the Central Service Center;
- 2,186 Series as a separate BU from the engineers and architects, also located in the Central Service Center;
- Airports Division, mostly composed of engineers;
- Flight Procedures Offices, which was recently added;
- Operations Support Group; and
- Quality Control Groups.
Tyler said the ESW local is unique from others in Region X because of the many different BUs, each with their own culture and way of doing things.
“I have several offices with a dozen employees and multiple contracts and multiple representatives,” he said. “The mix can be the confusing and hard to manage.”
Luckily though, the most recent contract is a consolidated agreement, bringing three units into one CBA. Tyler said the consolidation is a relief and again thanked the contract team for their work making that possible.
Tyler said another unique aspect of the ESW NATCA local is that there are about 50 field engineers based out of the Fort Worth regional office who travel so much they’re rarely in Fort Worth. Tyler said that makes it tough for him to get a chance to see them.
“I have been trying to get the agency to report on where it has assigned them to work, without success thus far,” he said.
Tyler said NRX is growing new units so fast that it’s hard to keep pace. When he took office four years ago, the ESW local had 200 employees and 100 members. Now, there are 465 BU employees and 125 members.
“Even though we’ve grown our membership to 125, our overall percentage is dropping because of the explosive growth in employees,” he said. “Trying to keep our local’s constitution up-to-date on who the local executive board members are and hold elections is pretty much a continuous event.”
Tyler said the group keeps its solidarity and communication going with monthly meetings, typically on the second Thursday of the month. On that day, members wear the NATCA ESW local shirt in the office. He said they have a great arrangement with the regional office of a name-brand beer company; the company provides beverages and a room in which the local can hold their meetings.
At these meetings, the members sit down together to enjoy a meal, provided by a different BU each month, and enjoy conversation for about 45 minutes. Then business gets underway.
Tyler added that the local also holds two “special meetings” during the year, one in early December and one in June. They invite spouses and children to the meeting, and then agree to postpone all business. After that, they proceed to an extended social, which typically includes a raffle for gifts and prizes.
“We get a very good turnout on these events,” said Tyler.