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I am at your service but remember I am not really a Genie. I will do my best to insure that the union works hard to insure your rights as government employees are respected by Management.



Presidential Page

Recent Happenings

By B.M. Jetter

I would like to discuss union funded functions and how union funds should be expended to fund functions sanctioned by the membership. Our bylaws have been changed since last year and it is no longer possible to make a decision for the union to fund a party or other such activity on short notice. The membership must be afforded an opportunity to make an informed decision on expending funds for functions other than training and normal operating costs. According to the local's updated bylaws that were voted on in the beginning of the year there are several steps that must be taken in order for the local to vote on such an issue. The main thing for interested members to do is to bring this up early in the year. A good time to raise such an issue would be September. If the issue is brought up this early there should be enough time to get estimates etc.. that are now required by the by laws. Does this mean the membership can't do something like this? No. It mainly means that for something like this to be done the membership must be able to make an educated decision prior to voting on allocating funds for such an activity. The bylaws were changed so that the persons responsible for maintaining the Local's funds have control of any such expenditures. These persons are your Secretary Treasurer and President. This responsibility is a large One and must be taken very seriously by both myself and the Treasurer. I feel that I have always acted in the best interest of the local in financial matters and must continue to do so in the future. After last years function I spoke with some of the staff that were Key in organizing it. I informed them to do such an event in the future would entail bringing up the issue as early as August. This is so staff involved can explore avenues to offset costs such as fund raising etc.. and also so the issue can be voted on early to expedite preparations for such an event. The union's funds are first and foremost to be used for activities that further the Local's goals such as training our Stewards and Officers, Arbitration cases and normal operating costs. The best way to maintain the Local's funds is to hate a nickel cause it's not a dime. What I mean is the Local needs to be very frugal and I feel up till now we have done that. Does this mean we cannot commit any of the Local's funds to such an event? No it does not. What it means is that we have a responsibility to the membership and I mean all the membership to insure the integrity of the Local's funds and when we need to expend funds we get the best deal possible for the local. When throwing such an event all members should be afforded an opportunity to participate in the event and vote on holding such an event. There may be members who want to participate but can't because they are assigned to evening watch. There may be others who feel we should not hold such an event because they can't attend and so on. Are these staff any less a member cause they disagree with holding such an event? I don't think so. So bare these issues in mind if any of you out there would like to hold such an event in the future.

My Brothers and Sisters we have many problems to face in the work place but we can better face these problems united in our common goal of achieving a safe and fair environment to work in. This is the common bond that holds us all together. If you are experiencing a difficult work place problem please contact us. Even if it is just for advice we are here to help and are happy to be of assistance to you. I would now like to turn to the subject of reassignment. According to 5 USC 7106 Management rights management has the right to assign work. Specifically the first statement of this portion of labor law reads as follows; subject to subsection (b) of this section, next subsection (b) (b) Nothing in this section shall preclude any agency and any labor organization from negotiating -

(1) at the election of the agency, on the numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project, or tour of duty, or on the technology, methods, and means of performing work;

(2) procedures which management officials of the agency will observe in exercising any authority under this section; or

(3) appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the exercise of any authority under this section by such management officials. I know that this sounds rather confusing, however, what this means is that when management negotiates the Master and Supplemental agreements it legally sets fourth the policies that it must abide by when exercising its rights under 5 USC 7106. What this means to you is that management must abide by the contract when reassigning any worker to a post other than what was assigned by the quarterly roster committee. Management does have the right to assign and reassign within the parameters of the Master Agreement and Supplemental agreement. The master agreement article 18 section r states;

Normally, non-probationary employees other than those assigned to sick and annual relief, will remain on the shift/assignment designated by the quarterly roster for the entire roster period. When circumstances require a temporary [less than five (5) working days] change of shift or assignment, the Employer will make reasonable efforts to assure that the affected employee's days off remain as designated by the roster.

This portion of the Master basically states that a staff member in non-probationary status should expect to remain on the post assigned to him/her by the roster committee in most cases. Management can and will pull you from time to time, however, if you are being constantly pulled than you should perceive that as a problem. We all have to put up with this from time to time, however, you should not be pulled daily. Further according to the recent decision we have concerning vacating posts there are no non-essential posts on the roster and therefore all posts should be filled.If you are being pulled daily I would first bring this to the attention of your respective Operations Lieutenant and ask from some respite from this issue. Normally if you bring this to your supervisors attention they will try to work with you. If this does not work then I would suggest you contact your union Steward for assistance.

The Union feels that there should be no posts that go vacated during any given shift and this contention is backed by the recent case held on vacating/staffing. If you are working a post and you have positions vacated you should contact your union representative immediately. We are committed to your safety and will do our best to try and alleviate the problem for you. Additionally if you find yourself working any post shorthanded do not cut corners make sure that you take your time and do things properly. Remember if you make a mistake that same employer that your are trying to please by doing your job in a timely manner will be the one that disciplines your for any security violation incurred as a result of rushing or cutting corners. Always remember that your safety and the safety of those who are working with you may be affected by any decision you make to take a shortcut. Be safe and respect each other. Always remember if you are confronted with a difficult job situation notify your union representative immediately.















Lastly I would like to invite everyone to our next meeting. It will be held on December 4, 2000 at Ryan's Steak House on Jonesboro Rd. At 4:45 P.M. We will be discussing many important issues so if you are a member and can attend please plan to do so.

ORGANIZING A UNION

As you are probably aware, most working men and women in this country have the right to form and join labor unions to better their working conditions, increase their wages, and help gain job security. This section provides a brief overview of your rights as employees, and also provides some useful links where you may receive additional information if you are interested in organizing a union.

Why do people join labor unions? First of all, there is strength in numbers. By joining together, workers can achieve important protections, and improved working conditions that may be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual employee to obtain acting on his or her own. Unions help employees to obtain improved wages and health benefits, assure compliance with wage and hour laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workplace safety laws, such as OSHA, and can help protect employees against unfair firing, suspensions, or other disciplinary actions. The right to form and join labor unions is protected by a variety of federal and state laws, as well as the United States Constitution.


PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES

Private sector employees are those persons employed by private companies and organizations, as opposed to those who are employed by the federal, state or local government. For workers employed in the private sector, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects your right to form and join labor unions, to assist a union in organizing the employees of a work place, and to go on strike to secure improved wages and working conditions. The NLRA also prohibits employers from interfering with these rights. For example, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee due to his or her involvement in a labor union, to threaten an employee with loss of job or benefits, or to threaten to close the plant or office if a union comes in.

Once a union has been recognized as the official bargaining representative of the employees at a company, store, or plant, the labor union has the right to bargain with the employer over wages, benefits (pension, health insurance, vacation, etc.), and other working conditions. Such bargaining can result in a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, which is an enforceable contract.


STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

Public sector employees are those individuals working for federal, state or local governments, such as fire fighters, police officers, government white collar workers, and the like. A majority of the states have state legislation which provide certain rights to state and local government employees to form and join labor unions. The rights provided by the various states varies greatly from state to state, with some states offering rights similar to those provided under the NLRA, while other states provide fewer rights.

In addition, public sector employees (federal, state, and local) have certain rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. As most people are aware, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual's right to freedom of speech and association. These rights, which apply to public sector employees, work to protect your right to engage in union activities.

For example, you have a constitutionally protected right to form and join a labor union, even in states that do not allow public employee collective bargaining. This means that a public employer cannot fire you, or otherwise discriminate against you due to your membership in a labor union. In addition, as public employees, you have the right to engage in speech on matters of public concern including safety and budgetary issues that effect both you as an employee, and the public as well. These constitutional protections can be an important tool for organizing labor unions in the public sector, as well as tools that the unions can use to gain public support for their positions and concerns.

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

Federal employees have the right to form and join labor unions. This right is protected by the Federal Labor-Management Relations Act (FMLRA).

This Act was modeled after the NLRA discussed above, and provides most federal sector employees with many of the same protections afforded employees in the private sector.

Indeed, unlike the private sector, federal agencies are prohibited from taking a position for or against a union during a union organizing campaign and election.

Although federal sector unions do not have the right to negotiate over wages or to strike, they do afford significant protections to employee rights through grievance procedures and binding arbitrations - forums that are available to non-unionized groups of employees in the federal sector. In addition, federal sector unions negotiate over all areas regarding working conditions except wages and statutory pay benefits.

Lastly, federal unions lobby on Congress on behalf of their members for better pay, benefits and working conditions. The effectiveness of lobbying is largely guided by the strength of membership. Join the team today and help us help you.

In Solidarity

Your President
 

Ben Jetter