This is the monthly communication going into September. Most of the Contractor members just received a communication two weeks ago, but I hope to continue to update everyone, one week before the normal general meetings of the Local Lodge.
The next general meeting is scheduled for September 7th, which is the Wednesday after Labor Day.
Under our Local Lodge By-Laws it is proper procedure to notify membership seven calendar days in advance of any motion to spend local lodge funds in excess of one hundred dollars that is not an ordinary bill or cost to run the lodge. This communication will be one method of that notice, although we will also still use bulletin boards and other postings as we have done in the past.
At this month’s general meeting, I expect three motions may be made involving funds. One motion may be made for a t-shirt order for lodge members that will not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00). These T-shirts are intended for all local lodge members who want one, but we may not have enough for everyone in this first order – and there is a purpose to this, I will explain in this email. We are ordering a conservative amount of shirts from a union–made source and we may order more at a later date if there is enough demand for them. Another motion may also take place that may spend up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) for an ad in the program for the upcoming District 1 Stewards Appreciation night. In the past these ads have cost considerably more than five hundred dollars, and this year, five hundred is the lowest amount of donation available. I also expect a motion for $600.00 for a projector and screen for the general meetings and trainings. If you have any questions, see your steward and/or show up at the general meeting.
What good news can I bring you? Well in our efforts to make this local lodge more digital and internet accessible, I am very pleased to tell you that for ATSS contract members you can now look up the status of grievances on our website, www.ll2424.com . ATSS Chief Steward AJ Begunich has put a lot of effort and thought into what our website and other assets can do for our members, and we are hopeful now that AJ has set up a good template for ATSS that other stewards for other contracts will be able to duplicate. The ATSS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the status of grievances is under the ATSS tab on our website. More to come. So, I will always encourage you to talk to a steward if you have any questions – but, now you can also see on the website where we stand on the grievances.
Also, now is a good time for those members on contracts that participate in the IAM National Pension Fund to check in on your pension. That website is http://mypension.iamnpf.org I want to pass along a lesson learned about the pension fund website. Our Office Manager, Rosemary Moss, can help you with many things as far as keeping your information up to date with the union, but she cannot gain access to your pension details for you. Each member must keep their personal information up to date with the pension plan and also check to make sure your record is accurate. The best way to do that is through the pension website or calling IAM Pension Customer Service (800-424-9608). Calling Ms. Rosemary does not update your information with the pension plan, because some of those details involve identifying information about you, like social security numbers, that are best controlled by you.
Now, I want to revisit the military pay differential topic I brought up in the August Communication (Federal members, you were not sent this information because it was mainly the contractor issues). If you did not see that communication, I brought up that ATSS, and the prime contractor Jacobs Technology, has stopped the practice of paying our military Reservist and National Guard members the offset difference between their base salary at Jacobs and their base military pay when activated for deployment or active service. The ATSS CBA or Federal Law does not cover this issue, it was just a practice that many large companies, like Jacobs, were doing, during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ATSS tried to stop doing it once before, but reversed the decision once Jacobs management above the Aberdeen Proving Ground level became aware of the decision. Now that decision has come back again.
Why is this important? First, it is a change in working conditions that was not negotiated with the Union. It may only impact a couple dozen of your co-workers, but it was still worthy of discussion about the impact of removing the practice. But more importantly, it’s about the stability that that money provides to our Reservists.
I have heard of a couple stories about the impact. In one case, the upcoming deployment of one of our members is going to mean that a new daycare will have to be used for that family’s two children. Mom would have little chance to get off work in time to safely navigate traffic to pick up the children before their current daycare closes, and dad will be unavailable during his deployment. The military offset pay would stabilize that family’s budget so that they can afford the new daycare situation without worry. Another example could be a member deploying and is trying to arrange a military leave trip back to the US during the deployment so that they do not miss a high school graduation. The military pay offset would make this a fairly simple expense – not a budget busting one without it.
The point is that WE value and respect the sacrifices our Reservists and National Guard members make. It is my intention to respectfully make those values known to ATSS and Jacobs’s management, and encourage them to consider our values in these decisions going forward. This is where I am asking you to stand up and do something to show support for our union members.
I will draft an email and send it to the parties involved with this decision; Steve Hugg – ATSS Program Manager, Donnie Hall – ATSS Union Relations Rep, Darren Kraabel – Jacobs Senior VP for Aerospace and Technology (Steve Hugg’s Boss), and Jill Clemons – VP and COO at Erika Lane Enterprises. These are good people, Mr. Kraabel is a former Air Force Officer, and so he should understand the importance of home front support for the deployed service member. We just need to respectfully share how much we value and respect our co-workers who put on the uniform of this Country and protect our freedoms. I hope you see the value in supporting them too!
Each of you will also get a copy of this email from me. If you agree with this cause, I will ask you to forward the email to these managers, too. You can comment or not, if you choose to, but you should not fear repercussion because it is my email – which will be proper and respectful. We do it in this way so that we do not run afoul of the rules for signing a petition, which is against the law at APG and the IAM Constitution. You won’t be signing a petition, and we will not be doing any type of job action – period. We are simply going to respectfully communicate with our managers, in hopes they reconsider their position. If you don’t want to participate in that way – that is fine too. But I hope that as much verbal support I have heard from ATSS members on this issue that we can generate hundreds of email forwards to show that we are together on this issue.
For our Brothers and Sisters that work for other contracts and other employers, I encourage you to forward this email, too. There is strength in numbers. The smaller groups in this local lodge have leverage because the larger units have your back! I hope in this matter you can stand tall and show the ATSS members you back them too! For our Federal members, it is understood that you need to not interact with contractors and contractor management. There are others ways to show support.
About the T-Shirts, You will see me in a blue union T-shirt the first Wednesday of every month. If you support the above ATSS members’ cause and support your Local Lodge, we will give you a t-shirt to wear on the first Wednesday of every month to show we are together. If we can’t get you a t-shirt right away, just wear a blue shirt. I know it might seem silly, but if we can wear purple on every Friday before a Ravens game, or Green for our Eagles fans – then why can’t we wear blue once a month to support the organization, that is fighting for your paycheck and benefits? I know I am going to try – I hope you join me!
Now lastly, Labor Day. I want to wish all of you and your families a safe and enjoyable Labor Day! But, did you know, that an IAM member is credited with starting the concept of Labor Day. The IAM website says “research is showing that it most likely was the idea of a Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who would later become the secretary for IAM Local Lodge 344 in Paterson, N.J. Records indicate, that he proposed the holiday in 1882, while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the New York Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic, which was the first event of its kind.” The first Labor Day was on a Tuesday. Several states adopted the day as a holiday in the following years. But, it was the tragedy of the deadly end of the Pullman strike in Western America that brought Congress to unanimously enact the Holiday Nationwide in 1894, making it the first Monday in September. (When was the last time you heard of the US Congress acting unanimously?) So on Monday, you will have a day off to celebrate the labor that the American Worker provides to our economy and way of life. Enjoy it! You earned it!
Respectfully and Fraternally,
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424