February 2, 2015
What did George Orwell say in his book "1984?" He said that big brother was watching you as he describes a society where surveillance controls the citizenry. Well let me tell you, today we live in a similar society. We constantly hear on the news where individuals are caught on camera doing various things like driving infractions, illegal activities, delivering damaged packages, etc. We live in a society where we are being monitored and there are copies of what we are doing. This includes using the internet at home and at work. Why am I telling you this? I am neither a doom and gloom individual, nor a prepper that could be paranoid about the state of our nation, but I am talking about how the aircraft maintenance technicians that are just doing their jobs are affected by this type of surveillance.
All airports have cameras that at some stations are so high tech that they can clearly read the employee number on your badge. There are also cameras in our hangars, break rooms, parking lots, and at time clocks. We are just people doing our job so why should we be concerned? Well, these cameras can be used to view all of our actions. They have done this in the past and it has resulted in several mechanics losing their jobs. This is not paranoia, this is fact.
You might think this does not concern you and will never affect you; however, if you signed off on work completed by a coworker and there was a discrepancy with their work or paperwork, there very well might be videotape leaving you and your coworker with no defense. You could lose your job over something this simple.
As the National Executive Council (NEC) has been stressing all along, I am advising you to document all maintenance, to ensure the task is done per the manuals, and to be aware that you are most likely being recorded when you are at work. If the company wants us to do a task that will take eight hours to complete, and the aircraft arrives at 2 AM, then simple math tells us the task cannot be completed in that time frame. We also can only complete one task at a time. If we are given several aircraft to perform maintenance on, we should complete the first, including all paperwork, and then move to the next. There is only so much time in a shift to complete all tasks assigned.
To sum it up, make sure you have the proper paperwork, documents to do the maintenance, tooling, and you that you complete the paperwork-all per the manuals. We get paid to do a job and we do it very well and efficiently because we are experienced professionals. Our employers and the FAA are holding us to certain standards, and we in turn should hold them to the same level. We do not want any member to suffer the loss of their jobs, or to have to deal with the FAA in a Letter of Investigation. Be aware, follow procedures, stay safe, and keep doing the same excellent job that you do each and every day.
David A. Brooks
National Safety & Standards Director