This month for our meeting we tried a new venue. We had plenty to discuss with old and new business that needed addressed, but also some unfinished issues got resolved. There was a good turnout of our membership, but we would always like to see more.
We started this month’s meeting discussing the different arbitrations and where we stood on those. We also covered when and where any of the Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) would be posted that dealt with anything recently discussed. We briefly got into how these MOU’s get to the written form and the process leading up to it. Please remember that a MOU is like an amendment to our Collective Bargaining Agreement. When these MOU’s come out they are the new law. They are also posted on our local’s web site under 304 Resources and get updated or posted regularly.
We then moved onto the reason for the new venue for this month’s meeting. As everyone is aware we met at the Bridgeport Conference Center this month. The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has been very gracious with letting us use their Union Hall in Shinnston. Lately, some timing issues and getting someone to come down with a key to let us in has been getting a little harder.
Due to some of those issues we have decided it was time to find another meeting place. The local has formed a committee and we will be discussing the different places they find in the up and coming meetings.
We covered safety pretty thoroughly towards the end of the meeting. We talked about the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and the Incident Prevention Team (IPT) here at the Harrison Plant. We talked about what they are for, how they came about, what they have done, and where we see them going in the future. Having said that, I would like to touch on our IPT Program here at the plant a little bit. When unions were first assembled safety and safe working conditions were two of the main reasons. I know we are all tired of hearing this, but our safety really is in our hands.
The union and the IPT are two good programs that may be underutilized. We all come across conditions that we think are unsafe every day. Most of us will generally write theses up on a Job Repair Tag (JRT) and go through that whole system only to find that the repair order has been closed or put in the system as completed. When some of us go to check what was written up on the JRT we find the problem is still there or the equipment is still broke.
This is where the IPT Program comes in. This program is designed to fix safety issues around the plant. It is an employee driven program, so like the union you get out what you put in. I know it is hard to attend these meetings, but we are the ones who work around this plant with all the dangerous equipment. We are put in harm’s way when something does not work as designed. Nobody knows about these issues if we don’t bring them up and the best way to ensure it gets fixed is bringing it up to the IPT.
Ken Yanda is the chairman of IPT and would be happy to help with any questions on how this program works. We have the added bonus of having an IPT Chairman that is also the Union Safety Representative so he is familiar with both ends of our safety programs.
As always, if you would like to see a change in how we do things or would just like to see what goes on in other parts of the plant I would implore you to come to your monthly meetings. The best way to stay informed and get involved is to attend these meetings and offer your opinion on the day to day things that go on. We are always looking to stay safe in what we do so if there are things you want addressed bring them up.
Sometimes you have not because you ask not!