DECEMBER CHARTER MEETINGS
Please plan to attend one of the following meetings: December 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM at the Everett Labor Temple, and 5:30 PM at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma, and 5:30 PM in Everett for the Island Transit group. December 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM at the Everett Labor Temple. The 2016 Budget vote held on this day. Stay connected to stay involved!
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Hey Members, our local has received a call for CDL driver volunteers: " I work for Puget Sound Christian Clinic, a non-profit that provides free health care to underserved communities. We operate using a mobile medical clinic that goes to several different sites in King and Snohomish counties. We are in desperate need of CDL-licensed drivers who can volunteer to drive our truck to our clinic sites. I was wondering if there is a way I can present this opportunity to your bus drivers. If you would be so kind as to point me in the direction of someone who might be able to work with me on this, I would be so very grateful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and/or pass my information along to someone who can help me. Thanks in advance for any help you can give." -- Liz Sheller Coordinator of Volunteers Puget Sound Christian Clinic email@example.com 206.363.4105 x223
How Can I Keep In Touch with My Union?
ATU 1576 now has a text messaging service which is yet another way to stay in touch with the happenings of our local. Simply text the word ATU1576 (No Spaces!) to the number 68398 to subscribe and receive important reminder notices for meetings, arbitration votes and events.You can also “Like” ATU1576 on Facebook, but the best way to stay informed is to attend a Charter meeting. Upcoming Charter Meeting Schedule: September 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm at the Everett Labor Temple; September 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma; September 20, 2015 at 5:30 pm at Whidbey General Hospital, Coupeville; September 22, 2015 at 10:00 am at the Everett Labor Temple. Remember, it can’t be said enough: Everything that happens within our local is done through these meetings. Your attendance keeps you informed and ensures that your voice is heard. Please plan on attending one of these important meetings each month.
PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY: I’ve been talking to our members for years now about your right to privacy, your right to maintain confidentially about your medical information and how important it is to know the extent to which you are releasing your medical information and to whom. In many cases, we are put on the spot by the doctor, the employer or a third party when asked to sign a release of medical information and, 99% of the time we don’t take the time to actually read what we are releasing. I’ve seen a lot of medical releases and a “general” or “standard” release grants access to all of your medical records, not just the medical issue at hand. Also, the release you sign will generally grant access to that information for an extended period of time- say 90 or 180 days. This means your medical information can continue to be accessed for that period of time. Most releases I’ve seen extend to medical information that is normally far beyond the medical concern that is at issue, such as HIV status and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. I’ve been beating this into our membership and Executive Board for as long as I can remember, but it’s a bigger concern now than it ever was in the past. With newly updated HIPPA, Discrimination laws etc., medical releases are not the same as they’ve been in the past. You MUST be clear about what you’re releasing and to whom. And know this: despite what a nurse, doctor or medical staff member might verbally tell you about what you’re releasing in order to get you to sign it, in almost all of my experiences, what they say doesn’t necessarily coincide with what you are actually signing. Not because I think anyone is intentionally being dishonest, but because they’re in a hurry, have other appointments and need to shuffle their paperwork for the next patient. The release may be far more intrusive than what you’re being told. Read more >>>
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Recording Secretary's ReportRestrooms I’d like to give a brief update in regards to the clean and accessible restrooms complaint the ATU brought to Community Transit at the beginning of the year. One of the biggest problems we had was that when drivers reported a filthy, un-stocked, broken, or inaccessible restroom, nothing was being done to fix it in a timely manner. Often, days and weeks would go by without problems being fixed. This was due in large part to the fact that there was no one department ultimately responsible for ensuring that the issues were addressed. I am happy to report that the company is in the process of making changes. I am told that a more complete update will be given for the next newsletter, but for now it is my understanding that drivers will soon be able to report immediate problems directly to a hotline number and that if there are issues beyond that, Risk Management is taking the lead on getting them fixed. This will apply to issues with all properties, not just Community Transit. In the meantime, please continue to report any problems to the union as well. Vacation Bid As most operators at Community Transit already know, the shakeup that we normally have in January, when we pick our vacation time for the year, is being held next year in March. This is due to the regional change that we coordinate with Metro. Many have asked when we will hold our yearly vacation bid. The bid will be held in January as per the contract, and the union is working out the specifics with Community Transit. Seattle Driver Alert Seattle police will be conducting emphasis patrols in downtown Seattle to ticket all drivers who are blocking intersections. Be on you guard against having this happen to you! In Solidarity, Danielle Julien
First Transit EverettLast week a federal judge ruled in favor of New England Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady, adding yet another chapter to the infamous ‘deflate-gate’ controversy. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had imposed a four game suspension for Brady’s involvement, alleging that Brady had, at a minimum ‘reason to know’ that game balls had been intentionally under-inflated among other allegations. Much of the news coverage has portrayed the ruling as vindication for Brady but the truth is actually more interesting and relevant to all of us as union members. As the New York Times reported: ‘Judge Richard Berman ruled that the NFL’s finding, that Brady had “general awareness” of others’ misconduct, was not enough to suspend Brady.’ “The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and noncooperation with the ensuing investigation,” Berman wrote. “No N.F.L. policy or precedent notifies players that they may be disciplined (much less suspended) for general awareness of misconduct by others,” he added. So, while the ruling is maddening for you Seahawks fans who universally believe that the Patriots gained their conference championship unfairly last year, the ruling should be celebrated by all union members as good news. Brady’s lawsuit was actually brought by the NFL Players Association and was based on the principles of Just Cause and Due Process. The same principles are the basis for virtually every grievance filed on behalf of our members. One of the primary functions of the union is to assure that any disciplinary action taken by management must be consistent with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. These protections are available to us only because we have union representation. As I’ve noted in previous articles, Washington is an “At Will” state meaning that absent any collective bargaining agreement, an employee may be subject to immediate dismissal without cause at the will of the employer. This is also clearly stated in First Transit’s employee manual, a copy of which is posted in the ATU’s glass enclosed bulletin board. However the CBA in place with First Transit spells out in detail what forms of discipline may be meted out for specific types of offenses and establishes a procedure which the company must follow any time discipline is imposed. In Solidarity, Bill Taylor, Executive Board Officer
Taking the Fear out of Probation
For the first time on several years, Community Transit once again employs more than 300 drivers. What is also unique about this is that about 25 percent of those drivers are on probation. I started at CT more than 7 years ago, but I still clearly remember the one thing that struck me most about probation: fear. “I was late to work today?” “I went off route today. What’s going to happen to me?” Those things have happened to most of us. Heck, during my probation, I overslept by more than two hours, and therefore earned myself a no-show. Oh yeah, I also tapped a mirror on the stop sign year the mailbox in the yard. Probation doesn’t need to be scary. For the most part, probationary employees have the same rights as a driver who has been here 30 years. According to the bargaining agreement our union has with CT, “effective with their date of promotion to coach operator, these employees will begin their probationary period. Once they have entered probationary service as a full-time or part-time coach operator, all provisions of this collective bargaining agreement will apply.” There is one exception “During the initial probationary period (CT) may terminate the employee without cause and the probationary employee may not grieve this action. (Section 1.2 of the contract)” For obvious reasons, this is the clause that causes most new employees to believe that with one mirror tap or a wrong turn, the company will fire them. Since CT started it’s current hiring push in December 2013, 173 drivers have been hired. While several have moved on voluntarily, only two have been terminated by the company. Believe it or not, it is OK to make an occasional mistake at Community Transit. The management team and training staff know that it takes time to fully acclimate to driving transit bus. During a training session, I once heard Treva Kosloski, CT Staff Development Manager, say, “It takes at least five years to become a good driver.” I often tell new drivers that if you make a mistake, just respond to it the way you were trained. The company reviews how you respond to an error as much as the error itself. If you do something that seriously jeopardizes the safety of others, or make the same mistakes repeatedly and don’t show a willingness to correct your actions, chance are your time at Community Transit will be short. But that rarely happens. As I said earlier, I made my share of mistakes, especially in the first couple of years. They were usually minor, but I still worried. I now know that being part of ATU Local 1576 provides us with plenty of support no matter the situation we encounter. It’s helpful to review your contract and SOP manual from time to time. And when in doubt, ask one of our shop stewards. If you’re not sure who these people are, there is a list on the Union board at base (in the hallway across from the women’s restroom) or simply ask a fellow driver. If they can’t answer your questions, they most likely can direct you to someone who can. (Jeff Andrews is a coach operator and shop steward at Community Transit. He joined the Executive Board in August.)
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