Friday, August 08, 2008

N12345, You’re Busted

As I mentioned yesterday, AVweb broke the story about the FAA putting a renewed emphasis on busting pilots for deviations. In talking with my sources, I found out this is the penalty that controllers potentially face:

Concealment of an operational error or deviation.     

First Offense: 30-day suspension to removal.      

Second Offense: Removal

Rules always look so cut-and-dried. They aren’t. This isn’t a new rule. It’s been on the books. I saw a supervisor get three days off for covering up an error over twenty years ago. It wasn’t a malicious act. He recognized that it was an honest mistake and went with the “no harm, no foul” line of reasoning. When it came to light, upper management used their discretion to make it 3 days on the beach instead of 30.

Today is different. The controllers don’t trust the FAA to be reasonable and exercise discretion anymore. Why should they ? They’ve been working under imposed work rules for over 700 days. The FAA tried to fire 11 controllers in New York for failing to check a box on a medical form -- for a question the FAA already knew the answer to. The fact that they were all rehired (after weeks without any health insurance) didn’t take the impact out of the message -- the FAA will mess up your life to make their point. The FAA has tried to fire several union representatives. I could go on for a long time but the message is clear -- the FAA wants to keep their controller workforce intimidated.

Now, how many times have I asked for your help -- you, the readers -- in correcting this injustice ? Remember this from just last month ?

”Aviation’s movers and shakers will all be at OSH this year -- just like every year. I want the aviation community to start making some noise. I want this thing settled. I know my readers and I know what kind of clout they have -- financial, political and moral. The controllers have made their case. They have spoken the truth and they’ve been patient. It’s time the aviation community started using their clout to correct this wrong. “

For the pilots out there, does the current situation make your thought processes any clearer ? Do you want a proud and brave controller workforce -- willing to stand up to injustice -- or do you want them to cower in fear of their employer and to start writing you up every time you make an honest mistake ? It’s gut check time. What’s it going to be ?

I’m not a leader of men. Read this from somebody that is.

Show your courage.  Be part of a greater act of civil disobedience and defiance.  Don't let the occupation force divide you from your friends in the cockpit.  This one is a backwards Nike swoosh:  Just don't do it “

Click on the link. Read the whole thing.

Not every controller in the country has the courage of John Carr. I don’t think I do. I depend on people like him to give me courage. When it came time for me to put my job on the line, I could only do it because John Carr said he would back me up.

How about you ? Are you going to help controllers find the courage they need to do their jobs ? Are you going to back them up if they get 30 days off for failing to bust you for an honest mistake ? Make no mistake about it -- this isn’t about safety. I’ll put my reputation about safety up against anybody’s. There are far more effective ways to ensure the safety of the system than by intimidating people. This is about having the courage to do what is right. You shouldn’t need any proof but if you do, click here.

It is in your best interest to have a workforce with enough courage to do what is right. It is in your best interest to provide the moral support the controllers need to keep their courage. Get busy.

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others."

Winston Churchill

Don Brown
August 8, 2008

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