Challenges and Opportunities
January 1st began a new term of office for our team of Officers, Business Agents, and myself. The new term brings challenges as well as opportunities. Some of the challenges include:
New master contracts are being negotiated for ABF Freight, UPS, and UPS Freight. These negotiations began in 2017 with hopes of bringing new contracts to the members for a ratification vote before they are due to expire. The Local Union is fortunate that we have BA Spencer Dearth on the UPSF national negotiating committee and Secretary-Treasurer Ron Hicks on the ABF national negotiation committee. In addition to the above contracts we will be negotiating various local “White Paper” agreements with many of our employers under contract. We remain committed to obtaining the best possible contract possible for and then enforcing it after ratification. We will continue to support the agencies in the communities where are members work and live, giving back to these areas is what being a service organization is all about.
There are also opportunities for us to explore: We have an active organizer on staff who regularly receives organizing requests, resulting in new bargaining units coming into the Teamsters, growing our membership. We are strong financially and can provide various training and informational seminars to our members to help them on the job and also later as they move into retirement. This financial strength also allows us to take on employer disputes to obtain the best settlement possible for our members rather than settle for something less. Additionally we provide various social activities throughout the year for the members and their families to attend, bringing the Teamster “Family” together as one.
There is one piece of troubling news I feel important to share with you, that is the upcoming Supreme Court Decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME case. This case centers on a Union’s right to collect fair share dues from employees they represent that work in the public sector. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this important case by June 29, 2018. Many observers expect the court to rule 5-4 in favor of Janus and bar Unions from collecting this fair share fee. This decision will reverse over 40 years of established labor law, drastically changing the way all Unions do business. At Local 776 we are taking a pro-active approach; identifying how this could affect the Local’s financial picture and drafting a contingency plan to reformulate how we do business while not sacrificing representation to our members. No matter the outcome of the Janus case we remain committed to serving you, the members with the highest degree of professionalism that you have come to expect from us.
Ed Thompson, President
Editors Note: As this issue of the Presidents Message was written a tentative agreement had been reached with ABF Freight and was being presented to the membership for a ratification vote. Details can be found on the website's home page.