Friday, April 29, 2011

B & D Plant Visits Complete: A & C Are Next - Negotiations Next Week

This has been a good week. I went to the plant this Wednesday and Friday to visit B&D Crews and the guys in Maintenance. First of all let me talk about the plant. It is one of the cleanest places I have seen. Considering that there are paint and chemicals around, the place is spotless. Another thing that caught my eye was that the people almost become one with the process. You guy are in it. When you walk around if you see someone they are involved in what is going on someplace on that line. That is IF you see someone. Everyone I did see was busy at what they are charged with doing. I am proud to represent you guys.

Let me talk about my reception from Management, Dan and Dave. I couldn't have been treated any better and with any more respect than how they treated me. I promise that I will keep that relationship going. I want to respect both the workers and the management team. After our negotiations are complete we will demonstrate that feeling openly as a GROUP and we will ALL strive to make this the best plant in the whole ABINBEV company.

IBEW Local 363 will be happy to lead us in THAT DIRECTION.

My plan is to meet with the A & C crew after next weeks negotiation meetings. That could possibly change if I can do it the same week but for now it will be after next weeks bargaining session.

We had some GREAT DISCUSSIONS at the meetings this week. I felt really good when I left the plant at the end of the day. I am sure many people did.

I am going to shift gears a little on the blog. I am not going to allow negative comments to flow through unchecked any more. I want to move forward in a positive manner. Questions or concerns are fine. Catcalling is out.

It's time.

All of the prices have been paid. Problems or beefs need to be brought to your STEWARDS and then to me. This is how we do it right.

If you are going to visit during bargaining - Monday we will be at the hotel at 12 noon. We will probably bargain into the night a little. If you come, text your rep and we will see you on our next break or make a break if we can at that time.

Thank you for your support and for a good week.

Stay solid, stay strong

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Class Trip: See You This Week At MCC

I will be visiting the plant on Wednesday and Friday this week at 2pm. Hope to see everyone on those shifts at that time. I will schedule the next visit to hit the other shifts.

I would also like to get together with the shop stewards to start mapping out a plan on how we will coordinate between the stewards themselves and the individual shifts.

Each shift needs to know what is happening on the other shifts.

I will be reaching out to the stewards and making arrangements for that asap.

There has been some real good discussion about having a meeting of all of the people prior to the June bargaining session. I think it is a really good idea as we will be getting to wages, health and retirement by that session. We will actually set that up as two meetings, so each shift can attend.

AS ALWAYS, still looking for concerns and ideas - meeting or no meeting.

We need to go to the table with a concrete proposal from the people on all money issues.

That way everyone in the plant will know where we start that conversation and we will all be on the same page right from the beginning. It will also bring everyone closer to the action and involve the entire group in this part of the process.

Hope to see many of you this week. I will arrange to visit on the other crews days in the next few weeks.

Stay Strong, Stay solid

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Negotiations Will Start Back Up On Monday May 2nd

We are now getting to the tail end of the negotiations. It has been many months and many meetings - with management and without - that has brought us to this point.

It is understandable that some look at the process and marvel at or even question the amount of time it takes to negotiate a contract. Unfortunately, to really appreciate the reasons why it takes that time you would have to be directly involved in the process. At times it is very frustrating. That goes equally for the workers side and the management side.

This time frame is typical of a FIRST CONTRACT. In a first contract, there are so many angles that need to be considered in regard to every subject. Each side is trying to make sure that their concerns are being met. That is always done in a balance with the other side.

For the most part, I would say that we have been looking at each issue fairly and with the idea that we need to be productive and make as many cans as we can. We just want to ensure that the people get their fair compensation out of it.

There are many good things that will come out of all of this. Especially exciting will be the long term benefit of having the ability to participate in all things MCC Newburgh. Something that didn't exist before.

Stay stronger now than ever before. Come to the hotel. Text your reps. We would love to see you and talk with you.

Stay strong, stay solid. Stay positive. Don't fall for the negative vibes some cast out. Being against yourself and your co-workers is NO LONGER AN OPTION.

You are all IBEW 363 workers now with a collective voice. YOU can be heard. YOU have a say - because you are in THE UNION.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

110,000 Hits! Thank You To All Who Support The MCC Newburgh IBEW Local 363 Members

Thank you so much to all of the people who are following our story from near and far. We appreciate your interest and support. As many people know, contract negotiations are a fragile meeting of the minds from both the management and workers sides of the aisle.

The many issues that are brought to the table to discuss, coupled with the many past experiences in regard to those issues - all add up to the contract.

We have made some really great progress, fought over a few things, changed a few things around for both sides benefit and are getting very close to the end of this process. We think we have the makings of a good first contract so far.

There is a possibility that we may get to the financial discussions toward the end of this next bargaining session - which will be in May. We expect that June will definitely be in play for everything financial to be discussed or in line to be discussed.

Talk to your reps about your ideas or to give them your input - they want to hear from you. When we solidify the date for negotiations we will post it here on this site. As was stated previously, if you would like to visit us during negotiations - we would love to see you - just text your rep that you are in the lobby and we will see you on our next break out.

Glad to hear that there are some plans to get together as a unit among some of the people there outside of and after work. Good move. Let's start building. Leaders need to emerge and those who want to be part need to have that opportunity to be involved in the discussion. Keep your ears open and go see what's happening.

Stay strong, stay solid

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Negotiations Move Ahead - Thank You For Your Support

Another week at the table. We made some more progress toward our goal - having a written contract at MCC Newburgh. Don't let this message be misunderstood though, things are NOT easy. I can promise you that they probably won't get be getting any easier from this point forward.

There is exhausting discussion about how things are done, why they are done, what has to change to make it better or fairer, why it can't change etc. All good and enlightening conversation to both sides of the table.

That conversation is creating your contract.

We are presenting proposals from your prospective and the company evaluates that same subject from theirs. Sometimes we match and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we get mad, sometimes they get mad. We WILL have a contract at the end of these negotiations that will be fair and balanced based on all of these talks.

Thank you to those who came to visit us during the day. It was nice to sit and talk a little and explain some negotiation information and other things. You guys really are a great group of people and a great group of workers. I am really impressed with the fantastic attitude toward your trade and jobs. It is openly displayed all of the time. I hope the company really notices that about you guys. What a great group.

If anyone else wants to stop by go to the hotel when we are in session and text your rep.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party. A famous quote that applies right here. Your party in this case is your union. Your union in this case, is you.

Support yourself, support your reps, support your union.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Union Members Gather To Stand Up For The Shrinking American Middle Class

Music and signs were part of a pro-union rally at the intersection of Routes 17K and 300 in the Town of Newburgh on Monday. Union members and backers protested efforts in other states to limit union rights.

The strains of "Power to the People" and "I Won't Back Down" blared from loudspeakers on a hill above the intersection of Routes 17K and 300 Monday afternoon.

In between tunes, IBEW union members, unions and their supporters put those sentiments into practice as they rallied in support of their brothers and sisters whose very right to bargain is being challenged elsewhere in the United States.

Organizers estimated there were 1,000 or more union members and their supporters lining all four corners of the busy intersection — teachers, iron workers, civil service employees, sheet metal workers, electricians and more. Horns honked almost continuously throughout the rally. This rally was bigger and more informal than one held about a month ago a few miles to the west, but its message was just as clear.

"We're here because the American worker is under attack," said Sam Fratto, senior assistant business manager for Local 363 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. "The middle class is under attack. Somebody needs to stand up for the workers. The unions are going to stand up for the workers."

The rally came on a symbolic day — April 4, the day in 1968 when civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike. Those workers, too, were fighting for collective bargaining rights.

"The (same) issues are still here, unfortunately," said Paul Ellis-Graham, president of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation.

The recent labor rallies have come in response to efforts by Republicans to strip union workers of their right to collective bargaining in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Adrian Huff, president of Teamsters Local 445, believes New York workers are safe for now, but need to stand up for those elsewhere whose benefits are in danger.

"That's what politicians want to go after — the contract and the protection it gives you," said Huff.