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Welcome TWU 557 Southwest Flight Crew Training Instructors

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October Member News

Dear fellow instructors:                                                                          October 18, 2018

In our fast moving and ever-changing environment, your Union is no exception.  Our ranks have grown from 85 at the beginning of 2016 to over 140 operational or in training instructors with the initiation of the last class.  We’ve temporarily lost several or our members to medical issues as well as one announcing his intention to retire.  Even with our growth over the past two years we’re still short of instructors with additional hiring ongoing. 

All this is to say that we’re in a dynamic position as we move toward building our instructor force to double what we had just two short years ago.  Just as the training center and training curriculum have changed, so, too are our demographics and needs as instructors. 

Many of you may be aware that our contract is amendable at the close of 2019 (December 31, 2019).   Although fourteen months may appear to be a long time, your board of directors is already working to be prepared for negotiations.  To that end, we met for both our quarterly board meeting and negotiation planning on October 2nd.  The meeting, which included your four board members as well as research team members, Teak Biondo, Sam Stoterau and Jeff Yeaton was a full day’s outing with budget, issue and strategy review. 

In an effort to compile member interests and priorities, expect to see a number of surveys forthcoming.  As was our last survey, these will be conducted online using the Survey Monkey.  Please take the five or ten minutes to respond and let us know what you want in a contract.  This is your opportunity to tell us what your issues and priorities are.  If we don’t hear from you, we can’t represent you.  We had 70% participation in our last survey we’d like to hear from the other 30% of you in the future. 

On other issues, Ed Simons has completed work on the online event trade technology.  We will be presenting this to the company in the near future and hope to begin a test period with it shortly.  We’ll keep you updated on this as developments occur. 

Additionally, your board attended "Mediation Training" conducted by the National Mediation Board on October 15th.  This day long training was invaluable as we move forward to contract negotiations as well as dealing with grievance resolution.  The training was arranged and attended by the Company and should prove beneficial to both sides.   

As always, let us hear from you if you have questions or issues that aren’t resolved after addressing them with management and please take time to respond to the upcoming surveys.  Best regards from your board of directors, Jim Baird(for the board)

August 2018 - Board Update

August 28, 2018

Howdy fellow instructors:

As the month is quickly coming to a close here’s an update on union activities and issues. We’ve completed our first instructor survey with a 70+% participation rate. The demographic data we gleaned is both impressive and useful as we move forward in preparing for contract negotiations next year. For those that responded, thank you for your participation; for those that didn’t please make an effort to add your input as future surveys are posted. We will have additional surveys forthcoming so be on the lookout for them.

We met with the Company today to address and clarify several issues as an outgrowth of Jerry’s earlier letter. As his letter was a basic “State of the industry” observation, many of the issues addressed were broad and not intended to be individually accusatory. A particular issue that we did clarify dealt with the Company’s compliance with FAA standards dealing with non-instructors conducting training. Captain Bradley’s musings to the contrary: “These supplemental ‘First Officers are allowed by our contract, but are we in compliance per FAR 121.410?” (see “Member Update” 8/19/18) were addressed and quelled. In an answer to the question, we were assured that every First Officer instructor has been trained in all provisions of this regulation. As an aside, the Company pointed out that the number of FOs being used is diminishing through captain upgrade and elimination and, at the moment, there has been no effort to train additional individuals.

We’re getting into a busy time of the year with IECQT in full swing so some of our schedule preferences may be tested (i.e. A period folks working C and D periods). Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast and you’re flexibility and understanding will be appreciated by scheduling. Also, be mindful that we have a lot of “ less experienced” schedulers on board that may not be as familiar with your preferences so work to comply with their requests. If there’s a contractual question or personal issue, address it with Jim Kilsheimer and/or bring it to our attention.

Again, thanks for giving your input in the survey and bringing your issues to us, we’re here as your representatives.

Best regards,

For the Board, Jim Baird

Helping One of Our Own!

As many of you have heard, Jim Hilgart, unexpectedly lost his 23-year-old daughter Tabatha.  We are all saddened by any family loss but it is additionally painful when losing a child.  Tabatha was a multitalented young lady who was both an accomplished musician as well as an international runway model.  Her loss comes after contracting an autoimmune disorder last fall for which she has been hospitalized, on and off since November.  

Jim and his wife Pamela are understandably distraught by their loss.  Unfortunately, this is also aggravated by the financial burden that the out of pocket medical expenses have left them

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Welcome to, the Southwest Airlines Flight Crew Training Instructor’s website. This website is currently under development for daily use by Instructors and is being primarily designed for communications between instructors and the TWU 557 Board.

In addition, it is also intended to be a resource for schedule trades as well as pickups and give away. In the future, it may be possible to either fill out or print out a trade form and then submit it via email for Company approval. This will be subject to agreement between the Company and the Union. Procedures have not been agreed on, however positive comments have been discussed and suggestions made. This electronic process would be a convenient improvement over our current paper system.

Other uses will be blogs for comments with other instructors on current topics, such as standards, course changes, and teaching techniques.

As we move toward Contract negotiations the website will also serve as a confidential news source for Contract information. Current news items and links to other industry websites will also be built into the available menus. There will be menu links to our current TWU Contract, Constitution, and By-Laws. The website will have both a public face and a member only section.

TWU is a modern communication tool to leverage to our advantage. Communications at all levels of our work are needed and extremely important.

Throughout history, there has always been a need for effective communications. On the deck of old sailing ships, there was always a wooden cask of fresh water, which was called a “butt” This cask was at a convenient location for the watch sailors. On those old ships, the sailors on watch were not allowed to talk with each other. Often current news, rumors of the voyage, and other information would be passed among the sailors, very quietly, when one or more were waiting for the “scuttle” to be passed from one to the other to drink. This was the origin of the term “Scuttlebutt”.

It is hoped that TWU will be the place where Our Scuttlebutt can be passed.

Your TWU Board discussed the importance of Effective Communication on its first day on the job, April 2, 2018. It authorized, at that Board Meeting, the creation of this website. Your suggestions and input are solicited as you begin to explore the future development of the site. It will help us to improve our overall communications with each other.

Please thank Instructor Ed Simons, TWU Webmaster, when you see him for his hard work in the development of this very important communication tool.

For the TWU Board,
Jerry Bradley
President TWU 557

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