We had a great meeting this month. We had a good turn out of members and a guest speaker from a local teachers union. We covered an array of topics and had some good discussions. We also went over what to expect with the new contract implementation coming up just before our big outage.
The main focus of this month’s meeting was getting to listen to guest speaker Greg Phillips, Vice President of Harrison County Education Association ( Harrison County’s local teacher union). He informed us on everything that has been happening lately from the possibility of the second teacher strike in the history of West Virginia, to the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA) issues that will affect all state employees. He was a plethora of information on the problems they are facing such as insurance premiums going up from about $150 – $250 to about $800 – $1200 and the legislature wanting to give a 1% raise that doesn’t come close to covering the proposed PEIA premium increases.
He also added that WV teachers are paid 48th overall in the nation while our local part-time legislators are paid 5th overall in the nation. Greg did ask for our support by calling or writing your local legislators and telling them how you feel about the current crisis coming our way. If, in fact, there is a teacher strike, take a second to stop by the picket lines and tell them you appreciate what they are doing. Maybe even bringing them coffee or doughnuts would be a good way to let them know they are not alone.
We talked about the up and coming contract implementation for our March 2018 to March 2021 contract. We covered the changes to the current contract and how everyone may not be aware of them. We also talked about how this may distract us as we get ready to go into our next big outage.
I would like to ask that if there are any issues presented with the changes to the contract to not allow it to divert your attention from doing a good job, but more importantly doing the job safely. As with all outages, there will be a lot going on with many different crews and labor trades working in the same areas on different jobs.
This can get confusing and dangerous enough, without the added issues of getting distracted by labor disputes.
As always, if there are any issues you would like to talk about, come to the monthly meetings. If you wish to be informed of how things are going around the plant, or in the labor movement, the monthly meetings are the best way to find out.
Remain safe and try to have a good outage.