UWUA Local 304 Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO

This week at our plant the Company Employees found out that they will no longer have sick time as of January 1st, 2016. Before we start gloating, it is not all bad news for them, as they will get five extra vacation days to help with anytime they need to call in sick. However, they will not get paid their new sick time of five days if they are not hospitalized for any type of surgery or treatment that they may need.

While I don’t know all the details of this new item the Company Employees have to abide by, it did get me thinking how nice it is that we have a contract that protects us from sudden last minute policy changes like this.
Our Collective Bargaining Agreement gives us certain rights with the rules and regulations the Company has to follow. If a change is going to be made, it will generally not happen until the new contract is in place and our Union has the power to negotiate these things away on our behalf. I know there are some growing pains right now with our first contract implementation, but our Union Officers are working on their own time to get these things straighten out.
Lately it has seemed like there is always some kind of battle between the Company and the Union on some of the simplest, most common sense scenarios.

It is always so easy to see the negative side of things and sometimes you have to look hard for the positive.

I would like you to think, what if you were one of those company people that just got told you no longer have sick time. Maybe you were planning an outpatient surgery after January 2016. You now would not get paid for the first five to seven days of the time off that you have to take because of the wear and tear on your body that working in this type of industry can cause.
I know our contract is not perfect, but it is nice to know we have some level of protection. This holiday season brings a lot for us to be thankful for. Another year with my family, the fact I have a good paying job in these uncertain times, a roof over my head to keep me warm, etc. are some of the things I am thankful for.

Our Union, Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Union Officers are also some of those things we should think about when we think how blessed we are. With the Union Officers and the Collective Bargaining Agreement to back them up we don’t have to worry about things like our sick time going away.
I understand it is hard to see the good when every little thing can be a battle. I recently had to sit through my first grievance discussion and I see what our Union Officers have to go through every time they have to meet with the Company. Because of that I want to say, “Thank You to our Union Officers,” and would like to encourage you to do the same.

These are the times we need to stay strong and together as we try to work out the Company/Union differences. It can be very stressful to do what they do and they are doing it free of charge, for you, for nothing more than what we get out of it.
Like the song says, “You don’t know what you’ve got, til it’s gone.”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families!

NOTE: If we. the union, find out more information on the Enhanced Time Off Program changes the company is implimenting on non-bargaining employees and our exempt personnel, we will share them at our Regular Monthly Meeting and discuss them with the membership to see what YOU think about it. What we know about it right now is only rumor and speculation and we warn the membership about believing anything unless we recieve the Summary Plan Description (SPD) and review it. We will not ask for the SPD unless this is something the company would want 304 to consider, and then we have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION, because WE ARE A UNION,  to study it thoroughly and present it to the membership for consideration. We have a choice because WE ARE A UNION of Brothers and Sisters!