The problems that have developed over the years and have held back the creation of strong trans-national organizations to support AMEs are many. The great size of the landmass of the United States and Canada leads to regional divisions, not only in society but in industries as well. There seems to be a multitude of opposing issues that prevent the formation of strong associations across North America. The confusion between the role of unions and professional associations is one. Unions do a good job on advocating for salaries and working conditions. They also actively participate in devolving trade training policies requirements as well. This somewhat spills over into associations area of interest and confuses many potential association members. A common question to association organizers is, “What is in it for me?” — an understandable question as maintenance technicians normally do not like spending money on projects which do not seem to directly affect their work life. The idea of banding together for the common good through an association is a bridge too far for many. This can be traced back to the personality profiles of the people who migrate to such work, so I am told. The lack of any immediate threats to their certificates and licences now remove any sense of urgency. Couple that with a fairly good job market and there very few motivators to get aviation maintenance technicians, AMTs and AMEs, interested in supporting associations. This all works in the same manner as people deciding to attend union or neighbourhood association meetings. If there is no emergency or contract negotiations people become less interested in attending. Association benefits can be somewhat difficult to sell to busy people who are working hard to earn a livelihood. The ability to manage people and unite them as a team to accomplish a somewhat idealistic goal is not a skill most technical people naturally have or have developed. So, this task then falls to a small core of maintenance personnel to do it. This can be hard and tiresome work and the small core of people tend to burn out. The fact that the associations struggle but still survive leads to many thinking they do not need one’s support. I will argue that all should join even if you are working in a union shop. It is all interlinked which leads back to the small numbers who then join the associations.

THE WAY FORWARD? Anyone who takes on the challenge of organizing a strong national association has my respect and vote. I believe it is really needed despite no immediate threat to the system of certification of maintenance personnel. No matter how dedicated the regulator is to us, they sometimes come under strong political and/or industry pressure to cut cost and no one can then predict what will be cut.


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