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FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the Union?

Go to the application section of the webpage.  Fill in the form.  Scan and email to the name at the top of the form.  We are working to streamline this process so the application can be filled out and submitted directly on the website.

 

How much does it cost to join the Union?

The dues are currently 1% of your base pay only.

 

Why should I join the Union?

There are as many reasons to join the union as there are pilots.  Each person's reason for joining the Union are personal.  One of the best reasons to join the Union is to ensure the Union is strong enough to speak for the concerns of all pilots.  If you choose not to join, the Union is in a weaker bargaining position with Management, in a weaker position when grievences are brought forward, and in a weaker position to support all pilot concerns.  It's much easier for Management to ignore the concerns of one or two pilots rather than one hundred or two hundred pilots.  If the Union isn't strong, we will each be forced to accept whatever policies and actions Management chooses to take.  In recent years Management has taken the unilateral action of suspending step increases in direct contravention of the collective bargaining agreement.  They have unilaterally downgraded pilots with the accompanying decrease in pay and permanent loss of step, an action without precedent in the collective baragaining agreemet.   They have failed to provide any concrete pathway for these pilots to return to those positions.  If the Union is weak, Management is able to unilaterally act in any way it chooses, often to the detriment of its employees.  A strong Union can be vigilent and continuously challenge these actions.  A strong Union can fight for the issues that are important to you.  A strong Union needs you.

 

Will the Union solve all of our problems immediately?

No.  The Union will not be able to solve all of our different issues immediately or even quickly.  The Union will be able to work towards issues that are important to all of us:  better working conditions, better compensation, and a safer, more fair workplace.  However, these issues take a significant amount of time and effort, which is why we need you to join.  It is important though to have realistic expectations.  The Union is essentially "rebooting" and starting from scratch.  As membership increases and communucation with Management improves, issues will be addressed and resolved more quickly.  The Union is the best option to ensure your concerns and issues are addressed and resolved.

 

Will I have to go on strike like in 2006?

No one wants to go on strike.  No one is seriously suggesting we should strike.  Strike's are often counter-productive, incredibly rare, should be undertaken in the direst of circumstances, and only as a last resort.  In the highly unlikely event a strike is ever proposed, the members will vote, and all members are expected to abide by the results.

 

If we don't go on strike, how do we get things done?

There a number of avenues available to Unions beyond striking.  We believe that the Company and Employees both benefit when the Company is successful.  We have a symbiotic relationship depending on both parties to succeed in a challenging marketplace.  This cannot happen when one party is taking undue advantage of the other.  Instead, we believe a cooperative partnership is preferable to an adversarial relationship.  As the subject matter experts in the Offshore and Air Medical fields, we can provide Management the first hand knowledge and information they lack, providing them with critical information, input, and feedback to assist them in everyday and critical decisions.  Additionally, we have underutilized tools, such as Safety Communications, Occurence Reports, and the Grievence process.  

When decisions and policies are made counter to safety, operational feasibility, or fairness, the Union can communicate these issues and concerns directly to Management.  If unsuccessful, the Union can utilize the Grievence process to formally oppose these policies and seek their reversal.  Additionally, these issues can be addressed during periodic Bargaining.  Ideally these routes will be unnecessary as we build a more positive working relationship with Management, but they are available.

 

How do I file a Grievance?

The Grievance Policy is covered in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or "Green Book" in Article 36 and Article 37.  The Grievance is a Three-Step process.

Step 1 - The Pilot attempts to resolve the issue with his immediate supervisor (lead pilot/base/area/scheduling manager) within seven calendar days of the event in question or within seven days of the pilot learning of the event, but no more than 28 days of the event's occurence.  The supervisor has seven days to respond.  (Talk to your supervisor within seven days about your issue.  They have seven days to respond.)

Step 2 - If you're not satisfied by the resolution provided by your supervisor, write up the issue and provide it to the Designated Company representative (Possibly someone in Operations, HR, or Safety depending on the nature of the issue) within 10 calendar days of the immediate supervisor's response from Step 1.  The write-up is farly specific, requiring the nature of the grievance, circumstances, remedy or corrected actions requested, and the Article of the CBA that has been violated.  Management has 10 days to respond and will respond via the Union.  The Union will relay Management's response to the Pilot.  (You have 10 days to write up a grievance after your supervisor's response.  Management has 10 days to respond.)

Step 3 - If the decision is unacceptable to the Pilot, he can appeal within seven days.  This appeal must be in writing and must include a statement as to why the Pilot believes the decision was incorrect.  Management will respond in writing within 14 days of receipt of the Pilot's appeal.  If the decision is still unacceptable to the Pilot, the Union may appeal to the System Board of Adjustment which is covered in Article 37.  (You have seven days to appeal the decision, Management has to 14 days to respond.) 

 

When can I file a Grievance?

A Grievance can be filed any time the Company violates an Article of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  For example, Article 24 covers Workover.  There is a spelled out precedence as to who is awarded workover.  Let's say your opposite on a job was out sick or on vacation.  You should be the first person contacted for that workover.  If you aren't, you can contact scheduling, ask for the workover, or an equivalent workover.  If they do not, you can file a Grievance for a violtion of Article 24 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Again, you can file a Grievance any time any of the Articles are violated.  Often times these violations are unintentional and are addressed when the issue is raised.  When they aren't, the Grievance procedure is in place to provide the Pilot with redress.

 

Will the grievance procedure protect employees who may deserve to be disciplined and/or fired for violating company policy?

No, the grievance procedure is fair for both parties. It requires the company and the union to provide proof and evidence for all alleged infractions. If the grievance is not settled at the early stage of the procedure it can be referred to a System Board of Adjustment. The System Board of Adjustment phase of the grievance procedure allows for two management employees and two pilots (the board) to hear the issues and make a final decision regarding the grievance. However, if the System Board of Adjustment ends in a deadlock the union can refer the grievance to a neutral unbiased third party (arbitrator) for a decision. The arbitrator’s decision is final and binding.

 

Do I have a Right to Union Representation when meeting with Management?

Yes.  As a represented employee, you have what are known as Weingarten Rights.  These rights entitle you to having a Union representative present when meetng with Management for disciplinary or investigative reasons.  These rights are the result of a 1975 Supreme Court case which laid out the following rules:

Rule 1: The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request.

Rule 2: After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options:

  • grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives and (prior to the interview continuing) the representative has a chance to consult privately with the employee;
  • deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
  • give the employee a clear choice between having the interview without representation, or ending the interview.

Rule 3: If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.

This video provides a brief description and example of a Weingarten meeting.

 

WIll the Union be more transparent with members and pilots than it was around the strike?

It is the intention of the Union to be completely transparent and honest with its members and represented pilots.  The Union invites participation, input, and feedback and will endeavor to be forthcoming and responsive to your questions and concerns.

 

How are my Union dues used?

This is one of the most common questions and understandable since 1% of your pay is going to the Union.  The last numbers available are from 2015.  The 2016 numbers should be available after November.  These numbers come from reports submitted to the Office of Labor Management Standards.  Dues currently go to four main areas:

Representation -          41.8% ($21,246)

Union Officers -            19.18% ($9,750)

Union Administration -  9.59% ($4,875)  

General Overhead -     14.77% ($7,508)

Representation-Funds for preparation, participation in, the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, and the administration and enforcement of the agreement. (Dues to OPEIU and PHPA, Grievences, Lawyers, and expenses) 

Union Officers-This goes to a single Union administrative employee who acted as a Trustee while the Union was in Trusteeship.  This same cost should become a Union Employee cost as the Union has exited Trusteeship.  This fee does not go to Union Officers such as the President, Secretary, or Stewards.

Union Administration-Includes disbursements relating to the nomination and election of union officers, regular membership meetings, disciplinary proceedings, administration of trusteeship, and the administration of member education programs.

General Overhead-Any payments not covered in any of the other nine standard categories.

Take a look at the Union Facts website.  It will give you detailed description of all of the information submitted to the Office of Labor Management Standards for the Local 108.

 

Will any of my union dues go to political parties or other entities I may not agree with?
No, the OPEIU does have a PAC. However, all contributions are strictly voluntary. It is illegal for dues money to be contributed towards political causes. OPEIU contributions go towards defending working family issues regardless of party affiliation.

Can I discuss union activity at my base?
Yes, the law states that you can engage in union activity during non-work times and in non-work areas. However, it is also permissible to discuss union issues in an atmosphere where you typically would talk about other non-work related things, such as in the pilot lounge, as long as you do not disrupt any work-related activity.

 

How is the Union organized?  I keep hearing about OPEIU and PHPA.  Which is it?

OPEIU is the umbrella organization overseeing all of the Local Unions.  PHPA is a subordinate organization of the helicopter pilot unions.  This chart should make it clear.

 

If you have additional questions.  Please contact us at Local108Union@gmail.com.