One of the things we talk about in the Current Topics in Aviation course I co-teach at Vaughn College of Aeronautics is how to report safety issues without being labeled a whistleblower or, worse, being fired. It’s an important issue for anyone entering a field where safety is so important and the “penalties” for being labeled a whistleblower can be high. Even the federal Whistleblower Protection Act covers only a small segment of the industry: airlines and their contractors. Some states might also have some protections for workers.
Last month, I wrote about preventing whistleblowing: how do you keep employees from blowing the whistle? My short answer was to listen to what employees are saying about safety problems, investigate and take appropriate actions.
Whistleblowers have been in the news a lot lately: Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who some call a whistleblower; Avantair’s whistleblower-initiated shutdown; and the latest TWA 800 conspiracy theorists (who also style themselves as whistleblowers, although 13 years after the NTSB’s probable-cause report was issued seems more like a whistle-whisperer than -blower)–the
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Whether Mark Twain or Dudley Warner said it remains debatable, but the point is that the same thing could be said about gray-market charters. I have been in corporate and VIP aviation for decades, and I have been hearing the legal charter operators complain about this issue for my entire career.
Union leaders expected by the end of last month to tally the votes for or against proposed new labor contracts at Mesaba Airlines, which finally managed to reach tentative agreements with its pilots, flight attendants and mechanics after more than a year of wrangling.
NetJets Europe pilots are preparing to establish trade union representation at the fractional ownership company. According to Teamsters union officials, a group of the European pilots is now evaluating four possible options for union representation and it expects to launch the new organization by year-end.