This month’s meeting was held at Brick Side Bar and Grill in Clarksburg. We had a good turn out and Bernie LaBelle was also there to give helpful insight into some of the issues we are seeing. As always, we covered an array of topics that touch each department in different ways. We talked about the vicious rumors of decertification and what that would mean, but also about the up and coming Collective Bargaining Agreement (C.B.A.) Negotiations.
We had a change of atmosphere for this month’s meeting at the Brick Side Bar and Grill’s conference room. It was nice to have the added bonus to order food and drink as we discussed our most recent business. We are still looking for a permanent place to hold our monthly meetings at this time. There are many suggestions out there from staying at Brick Side to moving them closer to the power station. We currently have a committee formed to help us in finding a suitable place to conduct our business and hold our meetings. If there are any suggestions out there we would be happy to discuss them at the next meeting.
We talked about the decertification rumors and what a decertification would mean for us here at Harrison Power Station. I feel the best advice that came out of the meeting was addressing those who may be behind this or think we would have it better without the union. That advice was wait and see what we can get as far as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (C.B.A.). At least take the time to see what you may be walking away from before you do. I would personally like to see all the options available to me before making any decision that may affect my pay, raises, health care, retirement, schedule, number of hours I have to work, etc.. I would also like you to think about some of the “interpretations” of our current C.B.A. or the blatant ignorance of what it says when there is no “gray area” to “interpret” and the meaning is in black and white in the C.B.A.. With this C.B.A. was the hope that we would stay as close to the way we already did things as possible. We thought there would be no drastic changes and we could continue to get along. Needless to say, we were wrong and some managers and supervisors have used the C.B.A. as an excuse or tool to make some of us miserable. All this happens now with a C.B.A. and union protection. What do you think might happen when there is no third party to step in and say this is not fair or there is no rule book to follow? I am sure that there will continue to be some managers and supervisors who remember we are all just people trying to make a living. They will try to do the right thing and help their employees when they can. We have that now, but how much worse can the select few managers and supervisors get when there is no referee or rule book to, at the very least, tame them a little bit? Also keep in mind once one department should do something a certain way the others usually follow suit. I, for my part, worry about the corporate folks who look at the numbers and not the management at our local plant. To the Akron or Greensburg people we are all numbers. We are expenses that need to be reduced so shareholders can make more profit. That is true whether you are union or company. At least with the union we have an entity that will fight for us to keep our jobs, necessary tools, paid leave, etc. when needed.
We covered what to expect with our nearly approaching C.B.A. negotiations and how to make this contract better. There is a survey in circulation to help us get a feel for what is important to each member so we can start putting a C.B.A. rough draft together. Also, a couple of departments submitted a department specific wish list of what they would like to see in the new C.B.A that has affected them. If we all submit a wish list of the things we would like to see then this should be a good strong contract. Not every department faces the same issues so things may get over looked that only effect certain departments. By having everyone’s “two cents” that should cover all the not so pleasant things we have faced and help prevent these issues going forward. I would remind you that negotiations are just that, a give and take process that both sides can live with, so not everything may go into this C.B.A.. If you haven’t received a copy of the survey or would like to submit your wish list, please see your Shop Steward or any Union Officer.
Finally, we wrapped things up with a discussion about getting sweat shirt jackets and pull overs made up. Your Shop Stewards and Union Officers will soon have order forms for anyone interested. This will be at no cost to you, but we will need sizes provided and a preference of zip up or pull over hoodie. These will be a nice addition to our tee-shirts that we can use in the late fall until early spring.
The next monthly meeting will once again be held at the Brick Side Bar and Grill. As mentioned earlier we will be discussing this, as well as other options for our permanent meeting site. If there is anything you would like to discuss or just want to stay informed, please attend the next meeting. The system only works if you use it.