BOS Collaboration Test Site Producing Positive Results
Friday, January 07, 2011
An effort to foster better collaboration between FAA management and NATCA is already proving successful at Boston Logan Tower, one of the 10 sites selected to test the effectiveness of collaboration teams.
This fall, a group of NATCA and management representatives from the tower worked with their counterparts at Boston Consolidated TRACON (A90) to produce a new letter of agreement between the two facilities, according to Deborah James, the air traffic manager at Boston Tower and one of the joint sponsors of the collaboration team.
The LOA addressed strip marking and how the two facilities handle new Area Navigation, or RNAV, departure procedures.
The process was so successful that the team is already tackling another LOA.
“It’s going very well from my perspective,” James said. “The controllers are feeling like they have a part in some of the decisions that are being made, and we are coming up with better products.”
BOS NATCA Representative Matt McCluskey, the other joint sponsor, shared a similar opinion as well as his enthusiasm over the collaborative approach, stating: “We have started a number of work groups. One deals with RNAV departures. This group has done an unbelievable job working with A90 to accomplish what they have in such a short period of time. Another work group is starting on the tower simulator lab and standard operating procedures and they are both extremely motivated and excited to start this process.”
James and McCluskey are still determining what other issues the collaborative team will take on. They are considering having the team review the LOAs and procedures already in place at the facility.
Some scenarios are already in place for the simulator, James said. “But who better to assist us in developing even more … than the controllers.
“They may come up with situations … that they would like to see in a simulator lab to help these newcomers into the building get more familiar with the layout of Boston Tower and phraseology.”
One of the aims of the collaborative process is to let employees working in the field apply their expertise to make the FAA a better place to work.
As well as Boston Tower, the other test sites are: Anchorage TRACON, Kansas City Center, Washington Center, Chicago O'Hare Tower, Salt Lake TRACON, San Juan CERAP, Houston TRACON, Oakland Center and Southwest Regional Office.
The FAA is also working with NATCA and other unions on collaboration through the National Labor-Management Forum. The forum is a product of President Obama's executive order that calls for federal agencies to create labor-management forums as a tool to improve labor relations within the federal government. The group has committed itself to building a collaborative working relationship. ??Last month the forum approved a charter that outlines its responsibilities, procedures and guiding principles.
McCluskey said that the collaborative process “isn't going to be easy, and it’s going to take a lot of work.” But the important thing he and his NATCA membership at the facility recognize in their desire to make the workplace and the operation better and safer is that, “now NATCA is part of the process. We are part of the decisions.”