Local 1576

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February 2016 Charter Meeting Schedule

NOTE: Meeting date changed to the 4th Sunday of the month, February 28th, 2016 1:00 PM at Everett Labor Temple and 5:30 PM at IBEW HALL, Tacoma. February 28, 2016 Island Transit meeting at 5:30 PM location TBD. Tuesday March 1st, 2016 10:00 AM at Everett Labor Temple. Come and hear the news of the local, ask your questions and meet with other members. Stay connected and involved!

As we say farewell to another busy year and welcome a New Year in 2016, it makes me so very proud to reflect back on the challenges we were faced with and the accomplishments this Union has made, all with the help and support of you all. It has been one of the most demanding for the Local in recent years, although each year I I find myself saying the same thing! There is so much I could report on, but it’s impossible in a newsletter article.

 

Beginning early in 2016, the officers will begin preparations to open three more contracts for bargaining in addition to the Island Transit contract we are currently bargaining. First Transit- Everett, Senior Services and Community Transit contracts all expire in 2016 and as such, will prove to keep the Local full of activity. This year, I plan to do things a little differently with respect to surveying the membership on contract issues they are interested in. In the past, we’ve traditionally sent written surveys to our members asking for input- only to receive very few back. Many times we needed more information and had no one to contact for follow-up questioning because names weren’t provided. Beginning in 2016, I will hold a member meeting for each of those three properties prior to opening negotiations. This will allow your negotiating team to hear directly from you the concerns and ideas that you’d like addressed. It could turn out to be a very long meeting without some strict guidelines so we’ll provide a format that should allow for smooth discussion. For the Community Transit member meeting, I plan to have a separate meeting with each of the classifications outside of Coach Operator, so that their feedback does not get overpowered by the issues and concerns of the larger driver classification. Please start thinking about items you’ll want discussed when we meet, and come prepared.

 

 The support of our membership, our “family”, is beyond thanks. We could not do our jobs as leadership without you, your guidance, and your continued support. The fact that you, our members, continue to do your jobs with pride and dignity during tough times such as these clearly demonstrates that you deserve so much more than that which the companies we bargain with are willing to offer. We will continue to do our very best representing your best interests each day and at the bargaining table. Your involvement is imperative. It continues to be a challenge and a test of our patience to stand up to management negotiators and make the arguments necessary to keep the bargaining process moving forward. Throughout it, I have been blessed by the tremendous, unwavering support of this great membership and by the diligence, integrity and good judgment of the negotiating teams and Executive Board. To say I’m grateful for this would be an understatement.

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Recently, at a Labor Management meeting at CT, one of the assistant managers came up with the idea of getting everyone on both sides of the table to say a little something about themselves just to tell something interesting that they might not talk about. We all had something to say of interest and although what I said then is not what I am going to write about, it did turn out that we all got to know each other a little better. I decided that in this end of the year article I would share something with our membership that very few people know about me.

 

We are often asked to donate for various causes, most recently the employees at CT donated over $40,000.00 to the United Way annual campaign which is very commendable. Often times we scrutinize those donations wondering how much of that actually goes to the person in need and how much goes to the CEO of the organization. While I did donate, it is hard not to question the process.

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What Is COPE? ATU-COPE is the largest Political Action Committee in the US. Your voluntary contributions are collected on a voluntary basis through payroll deduction or direct contributions. The biggest goal for our Union is permanent funding for transit. This transcends any political philosophy, this affects our jobs.

 

Where does your money go? Half of the funds remain available for Local 1576 to back those who will support transit. This requires that we seek out those who see the need for transit as our freeways become more clogged. We must look to candidates from both sides of the aisle. Obviously, we also seek to find pro-labor candidates and we help fend off anti-labor changes in work rules (as in do you really want to have to work 7 days/week to make it to 40 hours? Or worse, top out at 30 hours so your boss escapes onerous penalties imposed by the government if you work more than that in the name of healthcare?).

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We have grown greatly in membership this year, and with the passage of Prop one, we look forward to even more growth and new members. With total donations of $9,500.00, including $1, 00.00 from our local and $8,500.00 from the International Amalgamated Transit Union, we supported the Community Transit Now! Prop 1 campaign because we truly believe in public transit and the excellent service we can provide.

 

When the recession hit, our members were deeply affected by layoffs, reduced service hours and work that was now being created with greatly reduced break and turnaround times, what we drivers affectionately refer to as “Turn and Burn”. We found that we had very little, and sometimes no time to get out of the seat, use the restroom, have a meal, and stretch our legs. We found that our on-time performance suffered, as well. The combined pressure of these tightened up runs along with the domino effect of getting behind in the schedule, caused many members to complain that they almost never got out of the seat.

 

It’s false economy. True efficiency is not achieved when the company refuses to accommodate the need for rest periods, by creating schedules that are extremely difficult to drive, without ample turn around or break time.

 

At CT we have contract language which, in the interest of not extending our work day, waives the right to an un-paid lunch period and we also waive the right to scheduled rest breaks. Our contract basically says that we may eat and rest *as time permits*. However, we have found that the company abuses this language, as the intent of this language is not to deprive our members from any break time. I believe that with these greatly tightened schedules, the company has shown a lack of regard for their employees, who have asked time and again for relief.

 

Now that we are in a period of expansion again, it is our desire that the employer recognize the importance of ample scheduling, both for the health and welfare of their employees and the realistic fulfillment of the schedules they make. To do any less is a disservice.

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