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Old 09-20-2013, 02:47 PM   #1  
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Default "Compromised Safety Programs"

SAFETY Chair [LCAL]
PILOT ALERT: COMPROMISED SAFETY PROGRAMS
This is a critical communication. Pilots should note that the Central Air Safety Committee feels that the integrity of certain safety programs in the UPA have been compromised by actions of management. Recent events have demonstrated that the Company will follow the contractual safety provisions only when it suits their objectives and will attempt to manipulate those provisions to discipline pilots. So, unfortunately, we now are forced to write about the failure in our safety programs and what our pilots must do to protect themselves from the misuse/abuse of these programs.

In December, the UPA became effective. We took considerable pride in the hard work and dedication of the safety professionals from both ALPA and the Company in drafting the language in Section 19 (Flight Safety programs). In the years prior to the merger and through the UPA signing, safety representatives from both MEC Safety Committees and the Company worked together on contractual language that would take the best from safety programs at both airlines to enhance safety at our new airline. The UPA, along with precedent, clearly outline the steps that should be taken when accidents or incidents occur. In addition to the UPA, there are signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that further outline the processes. These established processes outline the steps that protect our pilots from unfair disciplinary action or prosecution while encouraging them to voluntarily participate in these safety programs. For a successful safety culture, these processes and procedures must continually be followed and not adhered to only when it serves management’s agenda. They are never to be used to intimidate or threaten. It is becoming apparent that the latter is occurring.

Flight Safety Investigations (FSI)
Not to be confused with FSAP, FSI is a method for reviewing any incident involving a crew that resulted in or had the potential to result in personal injury or property damage. This FSI process was developed at L-UAL and has been in place for many years. It has many success stories. As part of this review, a formal pilot debriefing may be initiated. This pilot debriefing is totally VOLUNTARY. If either pilot declines to be debriefed by the Company FSI investigators, then past practice at L-UAL was to not interview either pilot. This past practice of pilot debriefs has been implemented at L-CAL since UPA implementation began.

In the past few days, an L-CAL pilot declined to be interviewed by the FSI investigators regarding an event. This pilot had been earlier interviewed by the FSAP ERC (Event Review Committee) and completed the mandated correction action that was required by the ERC. Company Flight Operations felt that the pilot should also be debriefed by the FSI group and that he also needed a third debriefing by the base CPO. To accomplish this, the Company sent a letter demanding the pilot participate in the voluntary FSI safety debriefing and CPO debrief. The pilot was threatened with disciplinary action, up to and including termination for failing to comply.

Due to potential conflicts with management personnel that are involved in the FSI process, the Central Air Safety Committee recommends that pilots do not participate in this VOLUNTARY FSI debriefing process. Although the voluntary nature of the FSI process applies to all pilots, probationary pilots should take caution. In this case, the pilot was probationary and management made it very clear that they would terminate him if he refused to “cooperate.”’

Chief Pilot Debriefing
Under the L-CAL methods, Chief Pilot debriefings were a common occurrence. This practice was contrary to the FSAP MOU. With the UPA, the L-UAL policy was implemented and briefed to L-CAL Flight Operations. That new policy was to have no CPO debriefings and to allow the FSI and FSAP processes to function as intended. However, after eight months of implementation under the UPA, L-CAL Flight Operations is still doing this incorrectly. It is simply wrong and grossly inappropriate for the L-CAL pilot group to have a different standard than the L-UAL pilot group in this situation.

The Central Air Safety Committee recommends that the pilot group decline participation in any Chief Pilot Debriefing in which an FSAP has been filed, an FSI has been initiated or that involves safety issues until the following representatives are present. If the CPO refuses to allow you proper representation, we ask that you reschedule the meeting until this is worked out.

1. Central Air Safety Representative
2. ALPA Legal Representation
3. ALPA Grievance Representative
4. LEC Representative

It should be noted that in the event referenced earlier, in which a probationary L-CAL pilot was ordered to attend a CPO debrief, a Safety representative and Grievance representative were planning to attend. The CPO excluded the Safety representative from the meeting.

To be very clear, at this time, pilots should still continue to submit FSAP reports.

Those of us on your Safety Committee have been individually involved in promoting safety for a decade or longer. Safety remains a top priority. Throughout our dealings with the Company, there have been ups and downs, arguments and agreements; but in the end, common sense and the protection of the integrity of the safety programs always prevailed. We will continue to work to protect the integrity of our safety programs. Until we can regain the Company’s commitment towards that same goal, please follow the recommendations we have provided. Now, more than ever, it is critical that all pilots contact the Safety Committee immediately following any accident or incident, no matter how inconsequential you believe it to be. Until we can restore the integrity of every aspect of our safety programs and processes, pilots should make sure to use the full backing of the union resources available to them.nh
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:05 AM   #2  
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I would caution against posting any internal memos about safety reporting program, and / or procedures, on the public forums.
The general public is very sensitive about aviation safety and may misinterpret the content of this memo. Please refrain from future posting of this type of memos.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:38 AM   #3  
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The general public is very sensitive about aviation safety and may misinterpret the content of this memo.
Just like you're misinterpreting the memo as being internal?

Two things,

1.) This message was sent via email to an AMES distribution list that's considered public. It's neither union or company confidential.

2.) It's laughable to think the public or media would ever understand the nuances of any aviation safety program, in private or public. The message simply isn't for them and frankly who cares what they think. The pilots, working within the system that the memo addresses will understand, and the info should get the widest possible distribution.

A company that leads through intimidation and pilot-pushing is destined to fail. If they insist on destroying one of the finest safety cultures in the industry, it should be with the full spotlight of attention focused on all involved.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #4  
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...2.) It's laughable to think the public or media would ever understand the nuances of any aviation safety program, in private or public. The message simply isn't for them and frankly who cares what they think. The pilots, working within the system that the memo addresses will understand, and the info should get the widest possible distribution.

A company that leads through intimidation and pilot-pushing is destined to fail. If they insist on destroying one of the finest safety cultures in the industry, it should be with the full spotlight of attention focused on all involved.


Fine post! Excellent points. "Good God". Thank you. Can I get an AMEN? Take me to the bridge!

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Old 09-21-2013, 12:29 PM   #5  
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Quote:
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I would caution against posting any internal memos about safety reporting program, and / or procedures, on the public forums.
The general public is very sensitive about aviation safety and may misinterpret the content of this memo. Please refrain from future posting of this type of memos.
You are a Continental pilot. You need to change your way of thinking. The only way you would be afraid to post this information is if you felt you might be in the wrong. "Pilot Pushing" is wrong, and you need to use every venue available to attack this heinous behavior.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:30 PM   #6  
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As a casual outside observer (and one who really wants to be on the inside), I find this very troubling.

Coming from 20 years of Air Force safety culture, and with formal training and service as a Safety officer at the Wing level, one of the first and foremost concerns I have/had about making the move to "the airlines" was the safety culture.

I have thus far been pleasantly surprised (at the regional where I am currently employed) to find a safety culture so similar to what I was used to and what I expected that any differences are not worth mentioning.

Safety is not simply a facet of a flying organization's success, it IS the full measure of the organization's success! Simply put: crashing airplanes and killing people is BAD for business!

The guiding principle that an effective safety program requires the full, open, and honest ability of personnel to report and discuss safety issues, ESPECIALLY after the fact, in an environment free of punitive influence (save the case of blatant criminal conduct) is INVIOLATE. You may have the best people, the best equipment, and the best training, but if you fail to promote an environment that allows for the open and honest discussion of safety, with an eye toward mishap prevention, and instead create a culture where safety is just another thing to club people with, you are not long for this world, and your people should rightly flee before getting caught in the blast that is surely coming!

I will be watching this forum with keen interest for further developments. I have been anxiously waiting to get "the call" from United, and was hoping the recent crossing of the ISL Rubicon would mean best forward speed on hiring. Now, I'm not sure I should even apply.

YAP
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:05 PM   #7  
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Joe,
You aren't grasping the reality here. I am involved with this and it isn't pretty.
While FSI is new to CAL the old United FSI is not in play here. Mgmt has really tried hard to redefine the process and the line needs to be drawn. There is a reason it is in a union blastmail. To threaten a pilot to job loss to not talk is rediculous.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:23 PM   #8  
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Quote:
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You are a Continental pilot. You need to change your way of thinking. The only way you would be afraid to post this information is if you felt you might be in the wrong. "Pilot Pushing" is wrong, and you need to use every venue available to attack this heinous behavior.
I'm a United pilot, there isn't Continental name or pilot group anymore only United.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #9  
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I'm a United pilot, there isn't Continental name or pilot group anymore only United.
So you're saying that some United pilots have a much deeper safety culture than others and are willing to throw down the gauntlet when established practice and contractual rights are tossed aside...and some don't? Which one were you again?

This is a problem for all United pilots, but it appears to be rearing it's head in the former sCAL bases. Draw your own conclusions. The last gasp of FoF, a maverick CP looking to make a name for himself, or a guy who just doesn't get it - it doesn't matter. Like you say, this affects all United pilots, and it will take every last United Pilot to take a stand and reject this way of doing business.

Focusing a broad spotlight of attention on this issue isn't "going off the reservation". We have strong contractual language, in fact we have an entire section of our CBA (section 19) that establishes the procedures and protocol that the company must follow. We have past practice and a strong spirit of cooperation between UAL, the FAA, and ALPA that has been truly successful in spotting trends early and bootstrapping the lessons learned back into training. If we allow safety reporting and debriefing to be turned into a which hunt to assign blame, then the entire system suffers. The entire system becomes less safe as a result of participants not providing feedback out of fear of second-guessed disciplinary action.

For a safety chairman to report that safety programs are compromised is one of the most serious things I can imagine coming from union communications. The question is: what are we ALL going to do about it?
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:00 PM   #10  
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We are all United pilots whether you came from Cal or Ual. Take care of and watch out for each other.
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