- Published: April 08, 2020
PASS Sisters and Brothers:
Our call with the FAA went smoothly this afternoon, although there are still outstanding issues that we are trying to get resolved. Below are some of the highlights:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): We know this continues to be a serious issue as more and more local jurisdictions are asking residents to wear face coverings when going out in public. The FAA has not been able to get concrete information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on PPEs as they told us they were trying to do on Monday. We do have assurances, however, that if employees want to wear a mask at work for their own protection, they are not to be prevented by managers from doing so. Written official guidance on this is in process. You are not prevented from wearing your own mask at work.
We have heard that some PASS chapters are ordering face masks for members. Please reach out to your local chapter leaders to learn more about this.
Employee notification of workplace COVID-19 positive tests: We are still hearing sporadic reports that Air Traffic is not checking to see if all Tech Ops employees in an impacted facility area are being notified when a controller has tested positive. The Joint Crisis Action Team (J-CAT) is now including the PASS regional vice presidents on their notification calls when an employee tests positive and the RVPs are filtering that information to local PASS reps. I think we will see a decrease in such incidents and that you will be receiving timely information to protect yourselves and your families.
Travel reimbursement: A rural air carrier in Alaska filed for bankruptcy this week, cancelling flights and laying off its employees. Since air travel to remote locations is critical for PASS-represented employees in Alaska, many have been stuck with travel costs that the carrier will not reimburse. Those employees will be reimbursed by the FAA for any travel expenses outside their control because of COVID-19. All PASS members are reminded that if they have outstanding travel issues, the agency’s travel office has a dedicated email address to which you can submit your concerns.
Annual leave: We addressed an issue that is sure to become a more widespread concern as this national emergency continues. Employees are beginning to cancel their scheduled annual leave since vacation plans have been scuttled. Guidance regarding extending the time frame for use or lose leave is in discussion, as was done after the government shutdown last year. PASS will monitor any developments in this regard.
Employees in high risk medical categories: We continue to be in discussions regarding the status of employees in high risk medical categories. Teleworking has alleviated many concerns for these employees; however, we continue to have concerns when these employees are required to report to the workplace. The agency is developing guidance in this area and we will continue to discuss our concerns in this area and ensure that proper protections are in place.
Although these calls with the agency are going well and real-time concerns are being addressed, it is still important for you to report to PASS any deviation from the FAA guidance we have shared with you.