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April 11, 2008 at 11:26 am #563Big VMember
i don’t want to alarm anyone, but i know sometimes we plan our lives around these things, so just a heads up–there possibly will be no winfly this year. see details at http://www.bigdeadplace.com under the “Frontierwatch” section.
VApril 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm #5246
What I got was that they are thinking about a phased Mainbody, with a flight a week or so starting in Aug or Sept to gradually bring people in at a slow rate. Still I don’t think they have really made their minds up about anything at this point. It’s still all up in the air.
April 11, 2008 at 9:01 pm #5247RoyWendellMember
What’s even more likely no matter when the season starts is that the Ice Runway will be nonexistant. It’s pretty much the only way they can delay the start of the season and get everyone on station that needs to be there. The shipping channel is a mess as the chunks of ice made by the icebreaker never blew out and fleet ops isn’t looking forward to destroying equipment trying to turn it into a level surface. This has interesting implications with respect to shuttle driver staffing and heavy shop trying to keep everything running.
I keep hearing that first flight will be Sept. 15 and that there will be two flights a week from that point on.
What you have to understand is that this is all very up in the air. The Sept. 15 date was thrown out as a possiblility, the NSF latched on to it, but not everyone is on board yet. There are innumberable details with respect to manning and cargo loads to be worked out.April 12, 2008 at 1:52 am #5248
On the flipside of things, those people that have made a semi-career of ice work, and typically go down at Winfly, can now look forward to four fewer weeks of work, and unemployment that will have run out by then.
It may be time to get a ‘real’ job. Geez, I hope not…
April 12, 2008 at 3:08 am #5249mrguardMember
I didn’t think that the contract basis for working on the ice qualified anyone for collecting unemployment.April 12, 2008 at 5:20 am #5250RoyWendellMember
I’m really beginning to wonder myself as I’ve got a long overdue phone interview to do with an agent at the VEC. I’m not going to lie to get money. RPSC really likes to dangle that unemployment benefit out there for the new fish though.
What, you don’t think that our salaries are going to go up to compensate for the shorter season?
I agree though that it’s getting harder and harder to qualify going to the ice every season as a career if the season gets any shorter. I already don’t understand people who just do mainbody.
It doens’t seem viable to base the program entirely on people who are so desparate to go to Antarctica that they will take anything they can get. You need a core of semi-professionals.April 12, 2008 at 5:36 am #5251
Not everyone qualifies for unemployment compensation. It depends alot on your previous year and half of work history. Yes, it does get dangled in front of us, especially at the redeployment meetings…
April 12, 2008 at 11:53 am #5252
So I’ve always been able to collect. They base it on on quarterly earnings. The highest in the last 5 quarters not including the last quarter you worked.
Summer seasonal works if you have a summer seasonal job back in the states. 2 seasonals with a couple of month vacatin inbetween where you get unemployment works fairly well.
Unemployment went way down for me this year as all I had was what I made on the ice. The unemployment is for only 16 weeks. Last year I had california summer wages as well as virginia and got 26 weeks.
I don’t understand why you have to have a meeting with the VEC person? As long as you were layed off because of the end of contract you should be fine. Don’t tell them you quit or were fired, which you didn’t and weren’t. It’s all pretty automatic. The money goes right into your checking account after a one week waiting period.
MApril 12, 2008 at 11:18 pm #5253SciencetechKeymaster
Based on my experience, VEC often requests that the applicant meet and register with them (for job searches) before receiving any benefits. This request usually comes in the form of a letter requesting that the applicant call or meet with the VEC — alarming when you receive it, but really not a big deal. If you don’t live in Virginia they will ask you to register with a local unemployment office. My guess is that’s what you’ve got.
I’ve been through that a couple times. After explaining where I live, they just asked me to sign up with the local unemployment office. My state lets people register with the county unemployment office on-line, so it was a piece of cake. So far, VEC has seemed unconcerned about the contractual nature of the work; as Mike and Atlas have said, they’re more picky about the length of previous employment and overall contributions to the unemployment fund (for calculating your benefit amount and length). Remember, there are a lot of other workers out there (union contractors, seasonal, construction, etc) in the same boat.
When I managed to get through on their phone lines they’ve always been gracious, even going so far as to track me down when I changed addresses and a mailed benefit check bounced back to them. Let’s hope this continues — unemployment benefits are a lifesaver for us career Ice people who are forced to take time off.
;-]April 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm #5254SciencetechKeymaster
By the way, if you have accepted an offer for an upcoming job, you may be able to continue receiving unemployment benefits until the job starts — without having to do the job search. I’m not sure what the current criteria is, but in the past I think the upcoming job had to start within the next 5-6 weeks. It will probably take a phone call to VEC to eliminate the job search requirement once you’re within the time limits.
What this means is that, if you know you’re going back to the Ice, you can call up VEC about 5 weeks before deployment and have them kill the weekly job search requirement. You’ll still have to file a claim each week, but you can avoid the hassle of looking for other work in the interim.April 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm #5255
I should call them as I’m starting the park ranger job in 4 weeks.
VEC did say it was manditory for me to register with the local manpower center, which I did. The process was easy. The hardest part was getting through on the phone lines, which seems to be easier at the end of the week.
You either give your checking account info for direct deposit or apply for a debit card. They deposit the money directly into that. My first week went into the card. After which I decided that was a pain and called them back to have the money deposited into my checking account.
Weekly you call the phone number and most of the info is entered right from your phone. At one point they give you about 3 seconds to verbally tell where you’ve looked for work. You have to have at least 3 or so. Last time one week I only listed one employeer contact and they turned me down, so be diligent.
For the most part, I was honest with employers, telling them if they hired me I would be quitting in a couple of months to return to the ice.
MikeApril 30, 2008 at 4:50 am #5256
Ch…ch…ch…changes…April 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm #5257m0lochKeymaster
When is the first northbound flight from Pole?May 27, 2008 at 12:54 am #5258willKeymaster
As we approach the end of May I wonder if anyone has heard any more information about the dates of Winfly? Will the Sept 4-5 dates be sticking?
MikeMay 27, 2008 at 2:35 am #5259
The official term around the Denver office is now: WheneverFly.
The latest rumor out of the APC is that they may pull it forward to August, again.
By November, we’ll know for sure.
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