CWA Local 7800

February 2013

Our contract at MV is fast approaching. I think it will be a long process with the company but maybe I am wrong and things will move quickly and smoothly. We have the meetings coming up on March 2nd and March 16 these are both Saturdays for the membership. These meetings will be held in the Safety meeting room at the BOC adjacent to the maintenance area. We will hold these meetings starting at 10am. We plan on having elections for the MV Bargaining team and to discuss bargaining proposals. After those meetings we may look at scheduling some on a Sunday as well. If folks have not turned in their bargaining suggestions please remember to do so. I wrote in the newsletter about some language in the contract and practices of MV that concerned me. I have not received too much feedback on those comments but the feedback I did receive was positive. Honestly though I do expect folks to have a different opinion then mine on ways to make both the Shuttle and Connector seem as one unit, one large group of employees who work and benefit together under one collective bargaining unit. I look forward to those discussions and hope to hear different suggestions from the members.

We of course have Dispatchers, Utility Workers, and Admin titles under this contract and those folks will need to be negotiated for as well. When we added those folks to the contract bargaining for the Admin titles became difficult because we only had a small number of folks in those titles and the company Bargaining Agent made it extremely difficult and time consuming. It appears we will be dealing with the same Bargaining Agent this time around so I don’t really expect things to go very fast and we will need every one of the represented members to participate in the process and in our mobilization events if we want a fair and equitable contract for all.

I also want to thank Yedida Fink from MV who volunteered to become a steward and was trained in January so she is ready to represent the membership and I feel confident she will become a great advocate for our members. Yedida works on the shuttle side of MV.

At CenturyLink Bargaining is still going on. We continue to post the bargaining reports on our website and the District is putting them up on the District site. We also update the hotline as the reports come in. Basically I don’t have any information that you all don’t have. The last two communications from Glen Post have been annoying to me personally. I emailed him after the first one but I never heard back…. Hmmm. I will also say based on the feedback from many members the represented folks are not real happy with the word choices he used. It’s hard to imagine but it seems the company would prefer we were on strike then working and taking care of our customers.

I think we all can agree that we want bargaining to finish and we want to vote on a new contract. I think we all want the contract to be beneficial to the workers and frankly from what I can see we are not there. Healthcare costs for actives would increase substantially the premiums for a single person would be around $300.00 and that is simply too much of an increase. The retirees are already getting hit with huge premium increases and that has to be addressed as well. So we will continue to work and continue to bargain until something gives on one side or another.

Many folks have asked or I should say continue to ask how long will this take? Our motto is simple “One day longer” then the company. I feel real bad for our elected folks on the bargaining team they have been in Denver since August and will continue to stay there until the work is done. They knew they were volunteering for months of negotiations and being away from their families while they did this but I don’t think anyone saw the process taking this long. I only mention that because I am pretty sure they want it done just as bad as the rest of us if not even more so.

I did an interview for a radio show regarding bargaining a few weeks back the show aired on January 29th if you go to this link then go to “Select Weekly Shows” button and open the show “We Do the Work” and click on show for Jan 29th you can hear it…. It’s not all that exciting but I was able to speak to bargaining with CenturyLink and the issues regarding Healthcare, Living Wages, and Contractors.
Immigration reform will soon be the talk of the policies being debated in Washington DC. This program is important for many immigrants and nonimmigrants alike. Reform will be an interesting conversation. Personally I am all for it and last time this came up when President Bush was in office (the only policy I agreed with him on) there was a lot of contentious debate about it. Times have changed a bit though so we will see. I attended a meeting at the Washington State Labor Council discussing labors position on this topic and all the unions are very supportive of it. The trades see huge problems with how things are handled today and believe strongly this would be beneficial to all their members.

Labor is hosting an immigration reform kickoff event on Feb 18 from 1130 to 1 and the Seattle Labor Temple and it is open to all. CWA would like to see some people in attendance as well. They will have food and some entertainment. I am interested in hearing from the membership what their thoughts are on this.

At MV Transportation we have a large immigrant work force and this legislation could lead to changes in how folks immigrate or for those folks here how their families can immigrate sooner or even the H1 visa program. So this could have a positive impact to many classes of immigrant’s not just undocumented ones. Of course it’s too early to tell since no formal bill has been proposed but that is why it is important to be involved in the beginning talking with Legislators to get good language into bills such as this. I hope to hear from folks soon on this important topic.

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