Local 1576

Newsletter Articles

After years of economic downturns in the Transit Industry, it is refreshing to see things go uphill once again. The Union leadership, along with a lot of our members, attended several of Emmett Heath's employee meetings regarding the future of Transit in Snohomish County. During the 3rd meeting that I attended I took notes intending to share that information with our membership in this Newsletter article. A lot of what is happening in Snohomish County is also happening in King, Pierce and Island Countys.

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Message From Retiring CT Member:
To all my brothers and sisters at local 1576, As most of you know, my retirement had arrived! I’d like to take the time to say “Thank You” to all of our Union leaders and Shop Stewards, for any and all representation during my 25 years of service. I’d also like to say “Thank You” to all of my co-workers and friends at Community Transit. If there was enough space and time I would list you all, however there have been so many, that you all know who you are. For those who have been friends and those who have shown much compassion and consideration, please know that it has never gone unappreciated or taken for granted. You are the ones who have assisted me to get to this next stage of my life. So I bid you all a fond “goodbye” not farewell. I’ll see you out and about and I’ll wave or say “hello” through the window, and some I will see on Facebook. Everyone take care, Theresa Imholt #337 (aka Tess)

A Note of Thanks
I would like to take this opportunity, and in this forum, to thank ATU 1576 in its efforts to defend me against the misguided and biased attempts to charge and convict me of a Major Infraction earlier this year. Specifically, I would like to thank Laurel Boyd for her magnificent representation and research into my situation at the 1st and 2nd hearings. I would also like to thank Mr. Rick Jurkovic for his masterful handling of my appeal/grievance in this matter, and last but certainly not least I would like to thank Mr. Dave Thompson for his invaluable information relative to my case. Again, my heartfelt “thank you”. Having been at CT for twenty four years, I know that there are many employees past and present who owe their continued employment with very good pay and benefits to the many shop stewards and 1576 union officials who represent them. I cannot think of a better way to “Thank” them than to attend a union meeting and participating in your union meetings. It is disheartening to attend a union meeting, and see the same few faces when we have over 250 drivers, before our new members. As close as I live to the union hall, I don’t attend every union meeting, but it is only a 2 hour meeting, one day a month. Keep inmind that you pay into our union. Exercise your right to participate if only 3 or 4 times a year. In appreciation and fellowship with my union brothers and sisters, Sincerely, Darren F. (Casey) Noblick.

Pete Majkut, CT shop steward and champion of driver safety, sent our office an interesting paper that was written by the MFL Occupational Health Centre in Canada, on the health effects of career bus driving. I wish I could say that the results reported are surprising. However, after 15 years in the industry, I can go through my mind and see the faces of more than a few friends who have the suffered from the effects written about. The quote below is from the report.
 

One of the frustrations of the Union officers is member to member disputes. The whole idea of the Union is to bring people together in solidarity. Member to member conflicts do the opposite, they tear the Union apart rather than help to make the Union stronger. I have written about this before and I will probably write about this again. The ATU International has slogans that address solidarity like, "ONE ATU", and "United We Bargain, Divided We Beg."

I have spent a lot of my time trying to defuse member to member disputes. I have even had management contact me and ask me to intervene and attempt to resolve disputes between members. Sometimes an employee gets so angry at another employee that management or HR gets involved. The next thing that could happen is that one or both of the employees will get disciplined, leading up to and including termination. Although the Union officers would prefer to shy away from these disputes, I have found it better to meet them head on and try to get some resolution. I would rather have a member contact the Union and give us an opportunity to talk to both parties than have a member go to management.
 

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As the New Year begins, our community and our company face change and uncertainty. The loss of revenue, which has created the service cuts and layoffs at Community Transit, has also hit the rest of the community hard. As I drive Swift up and down highway 99 I see huge empty buildings that once housed grocery stores and car dealerships, and I also see smaller businesses empty and closed. I read in the paper about our Everett paper mill going out of business and hear of family members who are being laid off from jobs they have been with for nearly 20 years. Next month many good employees are being laid off at CT.

I want to keep in mind the difficulties we all are facing as I talk about the work we are going to be doing this next shakeup. Yes, we are thankful to have work.

But the work we bid is going to be difficult work. Some of us are going to be doing long pieces of overtime work with nonexistent turnaround times, spending hours and hours in the seat each day without any scheduled opportunity for meal breaks or rest. Others are going to be working split shifts, some with 5 hours in between the first and second half of their daily work, AND split days off. This work comes with a guarantee of fatigue and stress, and this is our reality.

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First Transit Everett Contract Ratified

At a time when it’s been the most difficult for Unions to negotiate a wage increase and better benefits for their members, let alone maintain what they currently have, ATU Local 1576 was successful in negotiating the best contract our Everett First Transit members ever imagined they would see.

After nearly 10 months of negotiations, our First Transit members ratified our tentative agreement by a margin I never thought I’d see. With a vote of 97 in favor 8 opposed, the membership told the negotiating team that they never thought they would see such a good contract. Here are some highlights:

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I totally empathize with concern and frustration with the impending layoffs and what a difficult and stressful time it is. This is indeed a painful time for all our membership and our union.

It's not by my choice that our office imposes the subject assessment charge. It's one of my unfortunate duties as the Financial Officer of our Union that I set up that payroll deduction. The charge is in accordance with our International Constitution. Those rules can't be overlooked or overruled simply by a petition or an impromptu vote of our members.

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On the Family Medical Leave Act

Upon approval of taking time off work for FMLA reasons, Human Resources will give you a packet of information that you definitely need to read before taking that time off. There have been too many incidents in which our Union member has neglected to become aware of the requirements specified in that packet and ended up with a missout or other disciplinary problem.

So, again, please read the packet provided you for FMLA leave and if you have any questions, be sure and go to the HR department and save yourself possible additional headaches (no pun intended)!

In solidarity,
Patty Ceis
 

First off, I’d like to congratulate Shelley Weyer, our recently elected Executive Board member. Shelley promises to bring a fresh perspective to our representation for First Transit operators and I look forward to working with her. I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the time and effort that Paul Peterson has put in on behalf of the membership. He is Paul is always ready to step in to assist in any way he can to support the membership, be it as shop steward representating the union in disciplinary hearings, or just generally making himself available to assist in countless other ways. His dedication is appreciated. Finally, I spoke with Pat Hill today (Tues, March 20). He is ready to return to work and is waiting for one final waiver from the state. In fact, there is a reasonable chance he will have returned by the time you read these comments. Please join me in welcoming Pat back from his extended leave from work.

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Community Transit Negotiations Up Next

Getting the Union members involved in Union activities and keeping them engaged is one of the most difficult things the Union Officers have to do. And it’s one of the most important.

During our most recent negotiations with Senior Services and First Transit, I decided to approach our communication with the membership different than what had ever been done in the past. In an effort to seek the involvement and input of the membership and maintain that participation, I held a special membership meeting before we opened contract negotiations and continued to hold various membership meetings during our negotiations. This was a huge success since it gave the members an opportunity to hear first hand from me and the negotiating team what was really happening in negotiations and it gave us the chance to hear from the members what they really wanted. The members really appreciated having these meetings and for us, it helped maintain our membership involvement in the negotiations process, which as you know, is vitally important. 
 

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