CWA Local 7800

September 2013

Well I hope everyone enjoyed Labor Day. Unfortunately something came up and I missed the Labor Day picnic but I hope anyone interested was able to attend. If unable to attend I hope everyone as least had some downtime to enjoy the day. I always encourage folks to take some time and look back at the history of labor and labor unions. Most of the rights and benefits we enjoy today are almost always from the origins of Labor and the determination of those folks before us. It was not always easy and in many cases came with a lot of sacrifice and many folks were even killed as they fought for change. So I urge folks not to take your weekends, overtime, the fact that you’re kids are not working in sweat shops for granted. Be proud to be part of labor.

I was out of the office for about 2 weeks during the month. As some may know I am now a member of CWA Trials Court Panel and I was tasked to go to Texas to oversee some business there. I left from Texas and went straight to Minneapolis for our District 7 meeting. Many of you already know a big portion of that time was spent discussing the CenturyLink Contract. I wrote a lot about that under a separate letter that was sent with the ballots so won’t cover much of it on this report. I would encourage folks to read that letter as it helps explain what went on in bargaining that wasn’t captured in the bargaining updates that were sent. I would also encourage folks to attend one of the meetings. We are still working on possibly putting on some additional meetings on the Peninsula, up north in Bellingham, and some day meetings at the Local for those who work nights or evenings and cannot attend the other meetings. We will schedule retiree meetings once we have a tentative agreement.

The District Meeting we had workshops on grievance presentation, safety, and building a movement. The grievance presentation was good as we can never have too much training in that area as many of you know my thoughts are our first obligation as a representative of the local is to provide the best representation that we can for our members and many times that works through the grievance process so touching base on the basics, hearing what has worked and hasn’t worked from peers is always good dialogue. At the training the “Good” example the district choose to use and focus on was a case from this local that we recently won in arbitration.

For the building a movement section this is something for years CWA has been vocal about and primarily talks about working with other organizations outside of labor for common causes. Locally we have done work with Sierra Club, and the Blue Green Alliance. These are good examples and while we don’t agree on everything we typically can agree on some principles to the same argument. As an example the “Coal train” discussions that are going on regarding the movement of coal via rail through the state and where the transfer to cargo ships for that product should take place. The environmentalist have many concerns and Labor also has concerns but feels the work this will bring and the jobs in the regions are important also so it is about striking a middle position of opposition if you will to certain aspects of the deal we are comfortable with. Same applies with the work being done with the Blue Green alliance again this is about working together on causes that could benefit both sides or that both sides may have opposition to and finding allies to get our voices heard. Strength in numbers.

CWA is very concerned about the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Act It likely to impact jobs, wages, agriculture, migration, the environment, access to medicine, consumer safety, banking regulations, indigenous rights, Internet freedom, government procurement and more. A pact this far-reaching should be negotiated in the most transparent and participatory manner possible. Currently this is being “Fast tracked” through congress and only being negotiated in secret with U.S. Trade Representatives and numerous corporations with no one from any consumer, environmentalists, or labor groups. Meaning when it is done they will simply bring it as is to our lawmakers for an up and down vote. No amendments or discussion will be allowed. It is disturbing. It is also disturbing that the Obama administration seems to be ok with this. We have seen the negative outcomes of previous trade deals (NAFTA) and from some unofficial information that has made its way public this trade deal could be NAFTA on steroids as Larry Cohen our National CWA President put it. We will be doing a lot of work on this in the coming months to stop the fast track. It would be nice to stop the whole deal but that is probably unlikely but at least stooping the fast track so everyone can be informed and other lawmakers could offer amendments.

I want to thank everyone who took time to act on the NLRB take 5 campaign. Again there was compromise with the republicans on this but by doing so the Obama administration was able to get these confirmations made otherwise the NLRB basically would cease to function. That would be a bad think. Locally we have filed a couple different NLRB charges against some employers and have won those too.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream Speech. Sad to say our country still seems to have some racial divides that are very visible today. I was hopeful that when President Obama was elected it would actually bring more awareness to this and that it would be helpful to end racism in the country. Frankly what I see is that so many folks are just blatant about their racism now especially when directed towards the President.

I wanted to give a building update. We have not found a real suitable place that is affordable to purchase that makes sense. I personally believe that would be a better option if we could find something that works and that has been difficult. There is a building that for lease that was on one of our early lists of acceptable and that property appears to be still vacant it is on 4th Ave south about a mile south of Costco. I am concerned because while the original offer on the building the Local is in fell through it was relisted and in the last couple weeks several different folks have come through so I am kind of expecting a new notice soon of a pending offer. We may just have to make the decision to find a lease so we can move on our terms and not be basically thrown out with only 30 days’ notice.

We have submitted our last proposal to IATSE and hope to hear from them very soon. It has been almost a year since they signed cards to get a ratified contract. I am hopeful they accept our last proposal. At MV we will be meeting the week of Sept 1st to go over the company proposals that were sent over the last week of August and drafting our replies to those proposals.

I will be heading up to Bellingham and Sequim later this month to meet members regarding the contract. We will also be meeting with some MV members to discuss progress in bargaining. We understand it is taking longer than we had hoped for with the MV contract as well but sometimes these things tend to drag on and I can say the scheduling of meetings is typically delayed by the company bargaining agents.

Going to keep the report kind of short this month. Thanks for reading.

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