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Business Managers Report

 

Sisters and Brothers,

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators as they called us, numbered 40,000 strong and went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye to gain wages, benefits and to stop child labor, equality for women, and working families.

The Gas Workers Union Local 18007 is 89 years old and next year will celebrate our 90th birthday of our charter. With all that is going on in Washington with anti-worker legislation, like Right to Work, removal of the “Bacon-Davis act” prevailing wage abolishment, collective bargaining rights being taken away, retiree medical being decimated we are in an epic struggle for the soul of organized labor. Most recently a very disturbing act of defiance by the employers and federal government are literally placing the health of over 20,000 mine workers and their families at risk. Promises made to our brothers and sisters in the united mine workers unions, who signed a contract with the federal government called the “promise” to work in the mines and power America through all the dangers of being a mine worker for over 80 years is in jeopardy and due to expire this Sunday April 30th. 1 in 3 brothers and sisters suffered the horrible black lung disease which is a painful slow agonizing death. Knowing these dangers, the government in a contract promised medical for mine workers and their families until their death. On Sunday, their medical benefits expire. The government and their old employers refuse to honor the contract. This is yet another example of backward steps to destroy organized labor.

As we enter negotiations in September 2017 we look to the struggles that we have overcome throughout our 89-year history and remember those that have come before us and the acts of unity that delivered great contracts that now have our wages in the top 2% of all utility companies in the country for Gas. With May Day on Monday we receive our union negotiated raise of 3.4% again the top end of all our brothers and sisters across the country in the Gas industry. I have received feedback from several supervisors who have and I quote “I wished I would have stayed in the union with the money you guys are making, the benefits you are receiving and the protections you receive.” We will deliver a great contract in 2017 addressing all the local’s issues in each department and fighting for no concessions and a fair benefit package. Our National attorneys as well as all of our healthcare professionals have advised during bargaining to reduce the local’s exposure to long term medical plans without the opportunity to reopen only medical and adjust the plans once the dust settles in DC on new legislation. I have started to put together a comprehensive bargaining plan address medical, dental and vision care. We will advise the membership as we get closer to bargaining.

With adversity comes the opportunity make progress on important issues, if you come prepared with supporting documents to support your arguments and proposals. We currently are preparing for all our research documents to cost out all of the items we will be proposing as well as finding ways to make the numbers work for successful acceptance of the unions proposals by the company. With the defense fund doing well we can have the opportunity to hire actuaries and accountants to run the hundreds of calculations for contract costing. We are excited about the future and what this means for all the Local 18007 members.

In Unity, Union Strong!

Business Manager, Rick Passarelli

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