Multi-Unit Collaboration Committee Gets Up and Running
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Multi-Unit Collaboration Committee (MUCC), a joint FAA/NATCA effort, held its third quarterly meeting earlier this month at the NATCA National Office.
Members of this committee include the NATCA national representatives and their management counterparts who are included in the NATCA Multi-Unit Collective Bargaining Agreement. During this two-day session, the committee made significant strides towards establishing a supportive process, and design for the collaborative relationships within this collection of bargaining units. One goal for the MUCC is to identify where all units have the same needs regarding collaborative processes and where their organizations will need variations.
"We have seen how the agency works without collaboration, and it wasn't very productive,” NATCA Region X Vice President Mike MacDonald said. “So while it has taken longer than any of us would have liked, we have now set in motion the mechanics that will allow us to move to a collaborative culture."
One of the pairs of national counterparts, Paul Wills and Raphael Ramos from Drug Abatement, said they had successfully collaborated on telework and were able to increase the number of telework days for employees. They plan to follow-up in six months to see how this is working for the organization and its employees. This same pair collaborated on a bidding schedule for inspectors; these employees will now be able to bid on the location for the inspections, using a rotating seniority process. The employees are pleased with the results.
The two efforts have significantly improved morale in this organization for its employees, and supported their national leadership's commitment to try using a collaborative approach to solving issues when possible.
All the pairs reported varying levels of progress in developing a collaborative relationship at their level, but the committee's challenge is in how to help collaboration grow and succeed as an alternative to traditional LR strategies throughout their respective organizations.
The Administration has called for a sustainable change in our culture towards collaboration and engagement, and this is fully supported by NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert. To be sustainable, this change needs to be experienced throughout the Agency at all levels.
A national plan is being developed, a "collaborative process," that will include training, testing, and joint communication of successes. The design will be aligned with the goals of Destination 2025, Executive Order 13522, and the results of the Employee Viewpoint Surveys. The MUCC was briefed on how each of those is tied to the future of the FAA. Their next step is a subgroup meeting in January to better develop and train on a process that will work as a template for this collection of bargaining units, which consists of various size organizations and a wide range of job occupations.
The planned "stand up" of at least one beta test site for the new process is already in development.
At the end of the two-day session, MacDonald said he was pleased that this meeting had helped "turn the corner” in working towards the goal of collaboration. Michael Doss, Director of Collective Bargaining and current Acting Deputy Director of Labor and Employee Relations, said NATCA and the Agency have been extremely successful in working issues together under this contract, which subsequently reduces costly arbitrations.