This is the monthly communication going into May 2017. The April communication did not make the deadline to notify members one week in advance of any spending motions, but no motions for spending money other than ordinary bills were passed at the last meeting. I am responsible for the missing the deadline, and you have my apologies. The next general meeting is scheduled for May 3rd, which is next Wednesday.
There are two items for the agenda that will spend more than one hundred dollars. First, I am asking for up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) to spend for the Aberdeen Proving Ground Centennial Celebration. One thing we want to do is provide water and sodas for workers and the public. We want to make sure our union brothers and sisters working the event get beverages for free, and we also want to give free beverages to the public waiting to ride buses to and from the celebration site.
A second motion has been submitted to spend three hundred dollars ($300.00) to support local youth baseball players’ travel to Florida to participate in training and tournaments. The donation will be made to BaseballFactory.com < Caution-http://Factory.com > This motion was proposed last month but our by-laws require seven days notice to spend more than one hundred dollars for things other than ordinary bills. We supported this group last year with a similar motion.
What good news can I bring you? The union has had several successes in the past months for our members. Some members of ATSS companies may have heard before Thanksgiving 2016 that management was adopting a new policy on lateness of employees reporting to work. The implementation was unevenly applied. Chief Steward AJ Begunich and Business Rep. Billy McIntosh had discussions and meetings with the company’s rep. There was no real pattern or history of lateness on the entire group of ATSS employees, and the companies really only had concerns with a few specific incidents. So it seemed a full-scale policy shift was not warranted. So the issue was withdrawn by the companies, which I consider a win for those members.
That being said, we must make sure that we do not give the companies more ammo to bring that discussion back. Report to work on time and leave on time, and if you have an issue on a specific day notify your supervisor. If you have an on going issue with caring for a family member or your own medical needs – you may qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA is unpaid leave, but if your situation qualifies for it, you should ALWAYS get the documentation on the books with Human Resources, even if you never use it. Why would you submit paperwork to make it official if you never intend to use it? Because you never know if that FMLA status could save your job. It gives the union a starting point to defend you.
Other news. Sometimes grievances take a long time. We recently had a couple situations where members got the companies to put agreements into writing. Written agreements are good, but it is better to also have a steward represent you in dealing with management – every time. Not just when the agreement falls apart. The union has seen a couple situations where there was an agreement in writing to settle a situation, but it has taken months to bring the situation to a successful conclusion. One of the situations involved the ATSS companies and the Military Differential Pay policy shift I discussed last year. An agreement existed in one case, and yet when the time came to actually use that agreement, the prime contractor and the sub contractors passed the agreement around like a hot potato. No one wanting to actually cut the check to make things right. It took months to resolve this one, and the member had to wait to see who would take responsibility for paying. In the end it worked out, and we are glad to see that our men and women that serve our Country got a small fraction of the respect they are due. And it is frustrating for everyone who has to deal with a grievance that is taking months to resolve with no news in between, but unfortunately that is how this works at the larger level. But just know the union is still working on the overall shift in military differential pay policy.
We need more volunteers and help. There are several committees and positions within the local lodge that need members. Some committees do not require much of your time, others do. If you want to help out, contact a steward or contact me. We need more people helping – period. I compare this to a homeowners association or the local PTA. You have a few people that show up all the time getting things done, and you have a lot of people who complain about what gets done and how it gets done. You can complain, but what have you done to change it? You can say you are busy with this or that, and you don’t have any time to do more. But this Union is fighting for your job, wages, and benefits – which pays for you to be able to do this or that. And if you team up with a few of your work friends, you can spread the actions out. One person can attend a couple meetings, another friend can make the plans to accomplish a task, and another friend can accomplish the actual task. A little effort can go a long way.
The local lodge t-shirts are still available. Summer is coming so get yours now.
Any further questions just ask a steward or have them get in contact with me.
If you have any questions, contact your steward and as always you are all welcomed at the monthly general meeting, May 3rd, at the American Legion Hall in downtown Aberdeen, starting at 5:15 PM. We’ll talk again next month.
Respectfully and Fraternally,
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424