CWA Local 7800

October 2013

Well an interesting month it has been. My report should be relatively short this month. Bargaining is still going on at MV Transportation and with IATSE. We have another face to face meeting scheduled with MV on October 7th and 8th. Maybe we will get to a tentative agreement… At IATSE we are still kind of wrangling over one issue. They believe that an ongoing practice is somehow going to jeopardize their status as a Dispatch hall. At the last meeting they made the same claim but have no documents, rulings, or any legal basis to make such claim. We were pretty clear that we felt their concern had no merit and adjourned the meeting with the understanding they go see if they can find any legitimate argument for their claim. We also double checked with government agencies and feel comfortable maintaining our position that their claim is baseless. So hopefully we can get this wrapped up in one more meeting.

Regarding CenturyLink… Well we all know the contract did not pass. We have put out information as we get it. I don’t really know what else to say here. The decisions moving forward will be made at the district and frankly it is their decision to make. I trust that these folks work very hard for us every day and do everything they can to ensure we have good working conditions and are really doing everything they can do for us and I support that. I trust that the bargaining team will do what they can to bring favorable changes to our contract. We will continue to put out updates as we get them.

We recently had two folks resign. One expressed their reason because they voted yes for the contract and the contract failed. I also read an article in CWA Local 6201 newsletter written by their Executive Vice President Loren Williams. He made some wonderful comparisons that fit our situation well. I will put some of his article below:

“With the Union we have dues. It’s not my Union it’s our Union. I’m an investor just like every dues paying member and I choose to invest in our future and my union.

This company has changed—they call it evolving. If there was ever a more prevalent time to be a member of the union it’s when the company succeeds in taking things from you. What concerns me is when the individuals drop out because they got upset with things the company did. Some members got mad at the Unions response that we are only as strong as the membership. By quitting the union you dilute our bargaining power.

Someone once called the hall and asked for the fastest way to get out of the Union? I told them quit, quit the company and you will be out today. Of course the caller did not like the answer but it was the truth. Like a lot of members they were calling upset about something the company did”.

I have to say I love the answer quit. If folks are upset and they believe the company is screwing them over then they have two options in my mind. Quit and walk away or stand up and fight back. The union will stand up and the members should be prepared to do that.

In our Local we have some folks who will always stand up, (you know who they are) we have others that say thanks appreciate everything you are doing, and we have others that are apathetic. They are content with what they have or are at least content with others doing the hard work.

At this juncture we really need folks to lean more towards standing up. I think folks should drop an email and let the company know how they feel. I am not saying be rude or disrespectful but if you think the company while making hundreds of millions in profit and execs taking million dollar bonuses while at the same time saying they need to lower costs to be competitive, and their solution is to have the hard working employees sacrifice their quality of life. Be it working forced OT all the time because they refuse to staff appropriately, create a two tiered system preventing folks from advancing through the company because what used to be a lateral or upgrade will now be a significant downgrade. Then do something or at least be prepared to do something but don’t quit the union. That is not the solution.

We had two resignations this week one of the members has over 35 years with the company the other over 40 both are women. I can’t even imagine what job they had when they started but I have to assume with the strikes that took place and the advancements made for women in the “phone company” over all those years why now? Why basically turn your back on an organization that has been there for them for over 4 decades. If this was a young person who did not understand or know the history then maybe but I see no excuse for these women. In the last 40 years huge advancements have been made for women in the workplace and many of those came from the work that Labor Unions do every day to ensure people are treated equally and fairly. There needs to be some push back and check and balance on corporations to stop the exploitation of their employees simply because they want more profit. Without the unions where would these women be today? What rights would they have in the work place? Would they still need to wear skirts to the workplace, raise their hand and get permission to use the restroom? Would they still be sexually harassed with no means to file a complaint? Would they still be limited to the jobs they could apply for? I can’t say for sure one way or the other but what I can be sure of is the unions led the way to get those practices out of the workplace. The last several years politicians and employers have taken aim and launched an all-out war on working people and it is time for the working people to say enough is enough. We should not tolerate it and we should be as vocal as possible. Does it mean we will win every battle? Nope that is clear but at some point the line needs to be drawn and all of us employees union or not have to say enough is enough.

I am particularly saddened at these resignations. One of these folks called me to ask some questions regarding the contract and their benefits I answered the questions. What she failed to mention was (based on postmark on envelope) she had already sent her resignation and her union card. I was and am still disgusted that while she made a decision to resign she still called us for assistance. Really… How sad is that? Can that person not go to her employer and ask these same questions? Does she not trust the answers that the employer would provide?

So to all of the members I will say now is not the time to walk away now is the time to stand up strong and united. Now is the time to realize your quality of life is at stake, your retirement is at stake, if not for you for your coworkers those who sacrificed on principle before us and for those who will have to courage to stand behind us. I hope everyone understands courage and commitment is what we need today not folks who simply walk away because it’s the easy choice.

I’ll leave it at that and hopefully you all understand the points I am trying to make. I will also remind everyone there is an election coming up and I hope everyone votes.

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