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First Transit-Everett New Contract- First, let me say thank you to all who participated in the recent contract election and particularly to the 40 plus member who attended the special members meeting on Nov 9. Our union is only as strong as the level of engagement of its members. Just to recap, contract negotiations started in April and by the end of July we had settled virtually all non-economic issues. We then began the tough negotiations over economic matters. We presented proposals affecting vacation benefits, holiday pay, sick pay, day book policies, medical benefits, the company’s contributions to your 401(k) retirement plan and more. We lost a considerable amount of time while we waiting for information relating to alternative medical plans, but eventually we got back on track. Until late August, that is, when we reached an impasse. We called in a mediator and continued the struggle to find common ground. Finally, on October 27, we reached an accord that we could recommend for approval. As usual, President Custer did a phenomenal job in these negotiations. We all are indebted to her for her resolve and negotiating skill. Judging by the vote results, with 86% voting for approval, you understood that this was the best deal attainable. (read more) Read more >>>

First Transit Everett Contract Vote
The vote count is in and First Transit Everett has a new contract! The vote was 93 YES to 16 NO. Congratulations to everyone for their hard work and dedication.

New Contract for Senior Services
The final vote: 48-YES, 9- NO. An overwhelming victory! Great work everyone!

BE IN THE KNOW
MEMBERS: Last night everyone on our list got a text message telling them the results of our contract vote as soon as the ballots were counted!!! Sign up to our text messaging service and receive instant notification of meetings and news updates. *You will not be spammed with messages and you can stop the service at any time.* Here is how YOU can subscribe to our text messaging service: text the word "ATU1576" (no spaces!) to the number 68398

CT CONTRACT RATIFICATION VOTE
The new contract for Community Transit was ratified today. The vote was 216- YES to 46- NO and 1 VOID. Passing at 82% YES VOTES.

DOT MED CARDS
ATTENTION CDL HOLDERS: Here’s the link to the list of certified DOT examiners nationwide. There is a place on the site for our Members to enter the city where they need the exam and a radius that they wish to travel for the exam. If a doctor or other certified examiner is not on this list, the exam will not be accepted and considered invalid. Copy and Paste this link: https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam

COURTESY
Our hard working Labor Representative, Lance Norton, sent me an article from the Everett Herald, in which a passenger writes a commendation for the kindness of a route 512 driver she witnessed. Lance says "It's always nice when the kindness so many of our operators extend, on a daily basis, is recognized." I will be posting this in the next newsletter as well. Way to Go! to our Operator for the level of professionalism he displayed and thanks, Lance for passing this along! The article reads: On Thursday morning at 9:58 I rode the No. 512 bus from Everett to Seattle. At the Lynnwood transit station, a disabled woman in a wheelchair was waiting to board the bus. Henry the bus driver was the most kind, gentle bus driver I have ever met. He spent about 5-6 minutes with this woman getting her on the bus, and securing her wheelchair to the various straps. All the time he was smiling and talking to her. And just before he started to drive off, he must have remembered he hadn't asked her what stop was hers, instead of calling back to her, he got up from his seat, went to her, bent down and in a low polite voice asked her stop. And when she reached her destination, he again spent time getting her off the bus, all the while smiling and talking to her. When I reached my stop, I asked him his name and commented on how kind he was to the wheelchair-bound woman. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan Aken Lake Stevens

Something to Think About
Submitted by CT member Tommy Budisetiawan: - What is employee engagement? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. - This emotional commitment means that engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. - They don't work just for their paychecks, but also work on behalf of their company goals. - When employees care, when they are engaged, they use discretionary effort. They go above and beyond the call of duty, they go the extra mile. - Keep doing our jobs better. But better is not a destination, it is a journey. We never arrive at better, it is always in the future, because there is always a better way to serve. - Success is not about always being the best, it is about always getting better and better. It is never too late to change, improve, and get better. - What is a day of success of a Coach Operator looks like? For me, it may be ... If you have no accident or incident. If you have no argument with passenger. If you have no complaint from them. If people make their connections "from" and "to" your bus. If you are on time. If you are not off route. If you are happy and able to answer people’s questions. If you just keep on smiling when many other cars cut in front of your bus. If you are not invited to see Customer Comments or if you don't have a meeting, and When you get back to base and home safe and sound. Of course you can add your own version or thinking of success to it. - The point is, once we know it and we know what we want to achieve, we can set it up as our "goals" of the day. Let's have goal in mind and set it up trip by trip. People with goals succeed, they know where they are going and can do their job better.

COMMENTARY By John Sainz
The following is the statement I made at the CT Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting on June 5, 2014. “Good Afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board and CT Staff: I am John Sainz, Financial Secretary of ATU Local 1576. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Custer and Vice President Jurkovic for the twin victories in court. With regards to the BOD Lawsuit and the Article 18.2 case, I can only ask, how, knowing they were in the wrong, does CT consider itself a good steward of public funds in light of the considerable waste of taxpayers’ dollars spent in fighting these two cases? The same question would also apply to the overwhelming number of grievance arbitrations CT has lost. Were I on the BOD, it would certainly cause me to rethink invoices paid to CT’s law firms without closer review. In light of the fact that CT has no problem throwing the Board under the bus when they receive negative comments to unpopular decisions they make affecting the public, it seems to me closer scrutiny of what the Board is getting the blamed for is warranted. Thank you”

That is the key question behind a grievance filed on your behalf by the local against First Transit. Two separate articles in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) are pertinent to this question. Article 34 spells out the accident policy and defines different degrees of severity, from minor to severe, based on the extent of damage to the “coach or other company property”. Article 7 spells out the Accident Review process, beginning with the responsibilities of the Accident Preview Committee (APC). The CBA states that the APC will first “review the evidence and determine whether any damage has occurred. If there is no damage, the accident will be classified as an incident”. The company maintains that an accident has occurred if “contact has been made” irrespective of whether any real damage has occurred. We maintain that, in order for an operator to be charged with an accident, the company must first establish that actual damage to the coach has occurred, and that mere contact does not, in itself, constitute an accident as defined in the contract. There are more details that I will not be going into for the sake of brevity but at this point the issue remains unresolved. We will update you as to the status of this grievance as it progresses. Read more >>>

Greetings everyone, I hope you are all well. We just finished our bid for the summer schedule and things went pretty well. Thank you to everyone who helped. Next up is the election for the monthly Safety Committee (SST) and the as needed Accident Review Committee (ARC). We have a number of people signed up, plus a few more drivers volunteering for Shop Steward, too. That is great, participation in your union is what makes it better. The election will be held Thursday the 19th in the break room at work. Robert Wolfe will be there from 0600-1200, and I will cover 1200-1800. PLEASE stop by and vote because YOU make the process work. As the summer gets warmer, make sure to drink plenty of water while working. Don't overly exert yourself or put off breaks. Also, please check your Shuttle’s front and rear AC units even on mild days and report them now before it gets too hot and too late to fix them.

Last April the ATU International paid for 3 representatives from our local to attend a training conference in Chicago. President Custer and I attended along with E-board officer Bruce Kurjiaka. Bruce was a great choice to bring along with us because he totally gets the political atmosphere and what it takes to make Transit happen. We arrived in Chicago while "Labor Notes" was having a convention. The Amalgamated Transit Union overpowered their program with about 500 delegates from 240 locals across the country and Canada. A demonstration was scheduled to picket a Staples store in Chicago for outsourcing the US Mail and about 400 picketers showed up, mostly ATU members with the slogan, "The US Mail is Not For Sale". We were trained in Chicago to energize our membership to participate in a "Vote Transit" campaign. The vision of International President Larry Hanley is to program the 240 Locals to program their membership to program their ridership to VOTE TRANSIT. The 240 Locals consist of about 200,000 members. The concept is for the 200,000 members to get the support of the MILLIONS of people who ride Transit every day. ATU International proclaimed May as Transit Month. May 20th was chosen as the day millions of people would call their representatives in Washington DC and tell them to vote for and support Transit. When May 20th rolled around, we were out in the Park and Rides handing out flyers to passengers telling them to call their representatives to pass a comprehensive transit bill. While Local Unions were doing this across the country the Locals close to Washington DC were demonstrating at the Capitol. The switchboards were jammed, Congress got the message loud and clear. Read more >>>

CT INTEREST ARBITRATION: Last weekend a meeting was held for the members at Community Transit to update the membership on the upcoming contract arbitration scheduled for October 20-24. As we prepare for Interest Arbitration I described the issues both parties intend to bring to arbitration and our Union attorney was in attendance to help explain arbitration process. I was pleased to see many new faces who hadn’t attended prior meetings and to hear the support and solidarity of all our members. If you were unable to attend the meeting please be cautious to obtain the truth and not trust rumors. Rumors typically carry partial truths, inaccurate and negative information and in most cases, lower morale. If you have questions about the arbitration, the issues, the process or anything else, please contact the Union office. We will provide you with the most accurate, up to date information possible. Please look for more information as we continue to prepare and thank you for your unwavering support. FIRST TRANSIT LAKEWOOD: After reaching a tentative contract agreement at the close of bargaining which FT reneged on, the Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge for bad faith bargaining. Since then, negotiations are on hold pending the outcome of the charge. Unfortunately, with the government shut down late last year, the NLRB is backlogged with cases so we’re waiting in line with many others. Our purpose and pledge to you is to bring you the best possible contract that is in your best interest and one which we can recommend. The contract offer FT gave us after they committed the ULP was not the offer we ultimately agreed to. Instead they offered a contract proposal far less than that and accepting it was not in your best interests. We thank you for all your patience and hope to have an answer on the charge in the very near future. Read more >>>

News at ATU 1576
Way to go!! Local ATU 1576's Financial Secretary speaks up!! The following statement was made by him at the most recent CT Board of Director's Meeting: "Good Afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board and CT Staff: I am John Sainz, Financial Secretary of ATU Local 1576. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Custer and Vice President Jurkovic for the twin victories in court. With regards to the BOD Lawsuit and the Article 18.2 case, I can only ask, how, knowing they were in the wrong, does CT consider itself a good steward of public funds in light of the considerable waste of taxpayers dollars spent in fighting these two cases? The same question would also apply to the overwhelming number of grievance arbitrations CT has lost. Were I on the BOD, it would certainly cause me to rethink invoices paid to CT’s law firms without closer review. In light of the fact that CT has no problem throwing the Board under the bus when they receive negative comments to unpopular decisions they make affecting the public, it seems to me closer scrutiny of what the Board is getting the blamed for is warranted. Thank you."

ALL CDL HOLDERS: New DOT Medical card rules take effect on May 21st
What you should know about the new rules for CDL med cards: The examiner will use new, national rules when conducting your exams. To see a list of conditions, medications and treatment that will be included in the new rules: http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov/mehandbook/part_4_guide_ep.aspx#con-guide Effective May 21, 2014 all DOT medical exams for CDL holders must be conducted by a "certified examiner". Medical cards obtained by a non-certified examiner will be considered invalid. All Group Health Occupational Medicine physicians are certified. Or, you can search the registry of Certified Medical Examiners to find your own examiner: https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam If your DOT card is due to expire remember, it will most likely take longer to renew your medical certification card after the new rules take effect on May 21st. Do not wait until the last minute to renew your card, as you cannot drive commercially without a current and valid DOT card. Know the new rules, and protect your livelihood!

Senior Service of Snohomish County

ATU 1576 has come to a tentative agreement with the Agency regarding wages, which we were pleased to bring to the membership at the All Members Meeting that took place on Sunday, September 15th at the Everett Labor Temple. The informational meeting was very well attended.

The vote will take place on Wednesday, September 18th at the SSSC base from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. All SSSC members please plan to cast your VOTE!
 

Have you ever received a paper from payroll/accounting that informs you of the amount of vacation time or floaters you have left? Has this information been accurate? Most likely not.

Recently, I had a situation where our payroll/accounting department informed management, incorrectly, that I had 5 days of vacation and 1 floater left to use. I truthfully pointed out to management, that as far as I knew, I did not have any paid time off left. In a reply from management this statement was made:

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Labor/Management Meetings

The Labor/Management meetings are an opportunity for the ATU to work on issues that are brought forward from the membership. Bring your concern to a member of the Executive Board and ask them to put it on the agenda for the next meeting. Labor/Management meetings happen at CT the third Thursday of each month, and the deadline for submitting an item is eight days prior to the meeting. When an item is placed on the agenda, it will be discussed at the following meeting. Each issue has its “day in court” at that meeting and what happens with it after that varies. Sometimes a sub-group is formed to research the issue and bring back a recommendation for change, and sometimes the issue can be resolved and closed in the first meeting. In either case, the person who brought your issue to the meeting will come back to you with the answer. Your concern will not be “filed in the trash can” as many people believe!
 

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SSSC Sick Leave

Greetings, DART Members:
My second installment in an attempt to explain some of the obscure items in the SOP and CBA , hopefully to the benefit of all of you members. Many of you have requested time off in the past for the opportunity to attend scheduled doctor and dentist appointments…and have been denied. The SOP and past practice both allow this opportunity to all of you. SOP 11.007 Section 7.2 Subsection C #12 “Pre-approved sick leave—“Pre-sick” scheduled absences for medical appointments which have been requested and approved. If employer believes an employee is misusing sick leave, employer may request medical verification.” This section also addresses sick leave in Subsection D #6 “Employees are expected to make every effort to schedule doctor and dentist appointments outside their scheduled work hours. Management will make every effort to adjust work schedule to accommodate early off and/or late start. Remember that unscheduled sick leave usage is an absence (occurrence) for purposes of this program.”
Another item of interest regarding sick leave…if you (personally) are sick or injured and need to use the sick leave that has been “frozen” in limbo during the last two years of our contract, you may be eligible to request payment for any or all of those days. CBA Page 10—Article 9 Section 1--“Through September 2013, employees may only use up to seventy-two (72) hours of paid intermittent sick leave per year. Any sick leave over seventy-two (72) will be unpaid, except that any employee on an extended leave for serious illness or injury will be paid from their sick leave account when verified by a doctor’s note.”
Hopefully some of this information will aid you in interacting with management regarding your need for using your sick leave in the future. (Remember to keep in touch with your union representatives; should you have any difficulty using your sick leave at any time…it is a contractual right.)
For the first installment, I refer you to my previous article on this website.
 

In past articles I’ve discussed some of the benefits of union membership. Today I’d like to discuss a couple examples that further demonstrate the importance of union representation. Recently our brothers and sisters of Local 1433 went on strike. The Valley Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority, serving the Phoenix suburbs of Tempe, Mesa and Chandler, had signed a contract with First Transit, which took over transit operations effective July 1 of this year. The operations contract included specific language requiring dismissal of any employee that the transit authority chose, overriding any protection that the driver would otherwise have under their labor contract. Since this was a first time contract, First Transit agreed to these terms even though it had not yet negotiated a labor agreement with the union. The union objected, refusing to allow worker protections to be so undermined. The issue was resolved through mediation involving a former Arizona supreme court justice and a marathon 32 hour negotiating session, but only after a four-day shut-down of transit service for 40% of Phoenix metro area transit service. As reported by AZCENTRAL.com:
“The union feared that First Transit’s contract with Valley Metro could allow Valley Metro to order the company to violate the union’s labor agreement by unilaterally terminating workers, reducing driver wages or cutting work hours.”
Rest assured, our local will never waive your right to union representation in matters such as these.
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As you are all probably aware, COPE is the ATU's political action committee. In fact, it is the largest transit worker PAC in the nation. Contributions to COPE are voluntary from ATU members through direct contributions or, as Local 1576 Members do, payroll deductions. These funds are used to support pro-transit, pro-labor legislation and candidates. Read more >>>

No one wakes up one morning and decides that it would be a good day to have an accident, after all then it would be an on purpose instead. But even though we don't plan it, --it happens. Your 1st thought when it does happen is probably going to be dag nab it (or insert expletive if desired), now I have to fill out paper work.

So now that the inevitable has happened, what do you do? Depending on the circumstances there are certain actions which need to be done following an event.
1. If passengers are on board or event involves a passenger, make sure everyone (including you) is okay.
2. Call it in at time and place.
3. Ask for a supervisor, police, or aid, if needed.
4. Follow instructions from dispatch.
5. Request that passengers fill out courtesy cards. (passengers may refuse to do so but you need to ask)
6. Fill out an event report.
7. Upon arrival at base, if there is damage to coach, park in B.O line and fill out a B.O. Slip
8. Remember these actions are your responsibility; do not expect a supervisor, or another person to do them for you.
What happens next? You should receive a notification (usually in 2-3 weeks) as to whether it is considered an accident or incident. If an accident it will also inform you as to whether it is preventable or non-preventable.

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Unfortunately, the members at First Transit Lakewood, First Transit Everett and Senior Services probably never met Community Transit E-Board Officer Randy Franklin, with the exception of the -E-Board officers from those properties. Randy Franklin happens to be an amazing individual who was appreciated by the Union Membership and respected by Management. Members at Community Transit who had issues with Management would often share their concerns with Randy. Randy would listen to them and more often than not head right down the hallway or upstairs to HR to try to resolve the issue. Randy has the ability to tell Management exactly what he thinks of a situation and clearly not make the issue personal. I can't think of anyone from the top down who doesn't have respect for Randy, and yes, he would walk right up to Joyce Eleanor's office to tell her what he thought about a particular issue.
Randy is alive and well but for circumstances beyond his control he had to resign from Community Transit as a coach operator. The good news is that this is not the end of Randy's existence or compassion for fellow human beings.

 

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I hope, by way of this article, our Brothers and Sisters are doing well and I trust that everyone is having a wonderful summer. Personally, I’m having a hard time believing it’s already mid-August!
Business in the Union has been as busy as ever and there are several items recently that have “made news” that I wanted to report on. Remember, every month the Officers make a thorough report at each Charter meeting of business being conducted within the Union. In order to get a full and detailed report and the Union’s position on the issues, it is most beneficial for our members to attend those meetings, especially since it is impossible to go into great detail in a newsletter article.
First Transit Lakewood-Tacoma Supervisors/Dispatch/Payroll Clerk:
Last October 2012, First Transit (Lakewood- Tacoma) notified the Union that they were going to lay off their Payroll Clerk, a position just newly certified into our bargaining unit, and transfer those duties to another classification. This news came on nearly the last day of bargaining for a new/first contract for this unit! The Union immediately demanded to bargain both the layoff decision and the effects of that decision but First Transit refused to bargain. The Union then filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against First Transit for their refusal to bargain. Over many months, the Union prepared to proceed to court because First Transit declined any offer of settlement made by the Union. However, at the eleventh hour, the Union won the ULP and the court hearing was cancelled.
Our win resulted in the reinstatement of our member to his former position and he was made whole for all loss of earnings and other benefits, plus interest. The employer must also negotiate with the Union both the layoff decision and the effects, remove from its files any reference to the October 2012 layoff, provide all information requested by the Union regarding the decision to layoff and, for 60 days, post a large poster-sized notice that the employer has committed an Unfair Labor Practice.
Needless to say, the Union is very pleased to have won this charge and to have Mr. Weldy back on the job. Ironically, the reason these employees recently wanted to join the Union was for the member protections the Union provides. Without the Union, this employee would have had no recourse. I’m certain our newly initiated members see what the Union can do for them! Welcome back Mr. Weldy!
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Recently I was in a meeting in which I heard from Management that Pre-Trip Inspections were being improperly done at Community Transit. This got my attention because I could see myself representing a number of coach operators for disciplines which can be avoided if we are all on the same page. Last September a “Behind the Wheel” article came out regarding these inspections. The article made a number of points which included the “Federal Law” and what could happen if these Inspections were not properly done. Attention was drawn to a “laminated sheet” detailing the inspection and how it should be done. A flag went up when I read: “In the very near future, Supervisors will begin random checks of Coach Operators performing a pre-trip and will make sure that you are following procedures to make us compliant with the Federal Law.”
I am sharing this with all of the operators on all of our properties in the interest of safety and because I don’t want to see any discipline as a result of pre-trips. Early in the morning we should be hearing horns honking, brakes pumped down while the coach is in the off position and kneeling coaches. If any of you have been guilty of taking a short cut regarding pre-trips please, let’s all get on the same page, that “laminated sheet” which was put in your mail box. At the other properties my recommendation is that you check out your vehicle they way you were trained.
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As you are all probably aware, COPE is the ATU's political action committee. In fact, it is the largest transit worker PAC in the nation. Contributions to COPE are voluntary from ATU members through direct contributions or, as Local 1576 Members do, payroll deductions. These funds are used to support pro-transit, pro-labor legislation and candidates. Read more >>>

Local 1576 President’s Report by Vice President Rick Jurkovic
I am Rick Jurkovic, Vice President of Local 1576 from Everett, Washington. Thank you to the hosts of this joint conference, the NW Conference Officers and all the people behind the scenes who made this Conference hospitable. President Kathleen Custer had to cancel all reservations because her mother is in the hospital. She misses being here and sends greetings to all on her behalf.
Our Local has suffered 2 layoffs since the beginning of the Recession and our numbers are down from about 800 members to 600 members.
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