Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Projects, a Taste of Minnesota and Lousy Leadership

Things are going to get busy around our home in the next few weeks as we've arranged to have a contractor come in and install hardwood floors in our kitchen and dining area. Our home is 15 years old and although the linoleum isn't holding up too badly it's time for a fresher look. I think we'll take it one step further and replace our aging appliances while we're at it. Not that they've given us any trouble but no doubt it won't be long before they do. Besides, it will make it easier for the guys to do their work if we can have the appliances out of there. We'd also like to replace the carpet on the main level. The thought of having to get everything up off the floor to do that job is a bit disconcerting. I'll need to get some help moving stuff as there's no way Tammy and Rachel will be able to help with the heavier things. I'm not looking forward to the job but it will be a nice feeling once the work is complete.

We made it out to Taste of Minnesota in St. Paul last weekend. The music acts weren't as good as we've seen in years past but it was still a fun way to spend the night. We thought about going back tonight for the fireworks but Tammy has to be up at 4:00am for work tomorrow so I think we're laying low. I've got a ride planned for when I get off work into a northwest wind.

I've been busy lately working on a project for my father-in-law. Morey is in an assisted living center 200 miles north in Virginia, Mn. When we last visited him a few weeks ago Tammy's interest was piqued by a poster he had on his wall from the 1950s when he played trumpet in a local band. She wondered if I would be able to make the poster like new again with Photoshop. I love challenges like that. I brought it home and did my best to removed all the tape which held it in place under the matting it was framed with.It wasn't pretty. I got busy and finally was able to finish it last night. I burned the image to a disc and brought it to Kinkos where they'll reproduce it to its original size of 12 x 15 on some heavier weight paper. Tammy is going to have it matted and framed. We think he's going to be happy when he sees it. He has two other friends from the band who would also like copies of it as they'd long ago lost their originals.

I just got out of a meeting at work where they're having us watch a 3 part video series promoting the idea of 'making changes from where you are'. We're to identify problems we see and draw attention to them so they can be looked at in hopes of helping the FAA to run more smoothly and efficiently...sort of like a business. I spoke up after the video and asked the supervisor if it's possible for me to communicate directly to Rick Day about a problem I've identified. Rick Day is head of the enroute portion of air traffic and he's been one of the most ardent supporters of the new work rules we're operating under as Air Traffic Controllers. Rick Day was a strong supporter of creating a 'B' scale wage for new hires and capping pay for veteran controllers in addition to some pay cuts. What Rick Day has been hesitant to do is support a pay cap for management in a similar way. I would think that Rick Day would be proud to lead by example and show us that everybody is being called upon to work toward a common goal of streamlining the organization.

Would you consider Rick Day a leader? Read the title of this post.

From the 'you just can't make this stuff up' category, I came across this post on our union forum today. This is from a veteran controller of 25 years at Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center who had finally had enough...

Yesterday, July 3, I called in not sick, not asking for leave, but I called in RETIRED. I told them I would stop in and turn in my ID and headset. When I arrived, I was asked to sign in my 3 year old son who was accompanying me. While doing so, the guard called the OM and verified it was OK. Permission granted, until 30 seconds later when the secretary of our facility manager called back and denied his access. When I talked to Mary Sandoval, she told me he wasn't allowed due to security reasons. I argued that he was only 3 years old, that I had been at ZAU for 25 years, and had known her for 20. I was told to bring him home and return at a later time (I live 2 1/2 hours away), to leave him at the guard shack, or leave him in my car outside the gate (85 degrees yesterday). I suggested he stay in the union office and not go on the control room floor, as that certainly can't be a security issue. Was told once again to leave him in my car or the guard shack. I hung up. I intercepted a controller coming in for his shift (thank you Mike Kunst) and he watched my son while I took care of business. My 3 year old son clutching on to my shirt, crying while I left him with complete strangers to him. No time to say goodbye to anyone, just hurrying to get things done so I can get back to my son.

Well, I got things done and upon entering the guard shack, was informed that while I was gone, Mary Sandoval, secretary, walked up to the guard shack from her office and met her young daughter, then proceeded to bring her into the facility. Not sure if she even signed her daughter in or not.

Good luck to all of you left who have to put up with this hypocritical, power hungry bunch of worthless excuses of human beings. I was once proud to say I worked as a controller for the federal government, not anymore.

Ray - RETIRED from ZAU


How sad. The folks who put their careers on the line each time they sit themselves in front of a radar scope are treated as people to be disdained and looked down upon. The irony in all this is that the management people who are setting the tone are without question the ones who never had the stomach to control planes. They got their certifications, some just barely, then at the first opportunity they jumped at a chance to do anything other than separate airplanes. Nearly always it's a jump up the ladder into a supervisor position. A position which not only gets them away from a job they struggled to do but one which pays them even better. Trust me, I'm surrounded by them at work...supervisors with less than one year experience working traffic but a career worth of time telling other people how to do it.

Controllers just want to come in and do their jobs then go back to their families. There are many controllers who are bailing out sooner than planned rather than put up with the games. Ray from Chicago should never feel that giving no notice of his retirement is the only job satisfaction he can achieve. He should have been allowed his victory lap to shake hands with his coworkers and bask in the glow for a few moments with his son by his side.

I've got to run...I have a letter to write.

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