Letter from the Director

USW Local Union 2801 members,

My name is Gaylan Prescott and I am the Director of District 12 for the United Steelworkers. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and reiterate the USW’s commitment to you and your contract negotiations. I started being active in our union when I worked at Reynolds Aluminum in Washington. I eventually became president of my local union and worked to help bargain good, fair contracts for our members. It was through this work I saw the real value of being a member of a strong, fighting union with serious resources and experience: the contracts we negotiated improved our lives—my own family’s life was better because of our contract. Given the recent struggles with management at LBMMC, I’ll be joining your negotiations as chief negotiator going forward, working hand in hand with you and your negotiating committee to achieve a contract that you can be proud of and support.

Healthcare workers have had a terrible 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The burden of PPE requirements combined with shortages, tough work schedules and the associated risks of this ongoing crisis may feel unbearable at times. This is the backdrop as LBMMC continues to disrespect you with its actions – claiming hardship to explain their disappointing wage proposal while simultaneously handing unrepresented workers raises. LBMMC has illustrated why our demands for dignity and justice are as important today, as ever. As long as we remain united in our cause, we will prevail.

USW District 12 covers eleven western states. We represent more healthcare workers than any other industry – over 10,000 members at numerous facilities just in Southern California. The USW Healthcare Workers Council is a resource to many of these healthcare locals. We will work to improve 2801’s communications with our numerous other healthcare locals, and the USW Healthcare Council including Council Technician Tamara Lefcowitz, and Coordinator Alma Garzon.

I understand Local 2801 has had some problems in the past. Some of your coworkers are peddling a petition to do away with your union altogether – I urge you to consider refusing to sign, and retaining your voice. In this especially difficult time, we need to pull together as a union more than ever. The voices attempting to separate us will not help get a better contract. Losing your union now has the potential to harm over a thousand members and their families. Steelworker solidarity and a united front will get us through this together and help us to negotiate a contract that is good for everyone.

For what went wrong in the past, I apologize. I want to hear your concerns and, more importantly, I want to move forward together to make a better future for you and your families. I also want to describe the value of bargaining enforceable conditions of employment and demanding workplace justice and dignity from management.

Even if you don’t see them, a number of USW resources are there helping you every day in your workplace and will prove invaluable as we work together to achieve a fair contract.

  • Our Collective Bargaining Department that has experts in negotiating benefits including health insurance, retirement plans, sickness and accident benefits.
  • The USW Legal Department has some of the most respected labor lawyers in the nation, dedicated to supporting your contract negotiations and enforcement
  • Our Strategic Campaigns Department is equipped to take on the biggest of corporations – like LBMMC, pressuring them to bargain fairly with your Committee and USW’s professional negotiators.
  • You have created the USW Strike and Defense Fund that has over $500,000,000 to support members with financial assistance and healthcare coverage when members have to resort to striking their employer to achieve a fair contract. The Fund shows employers that our members have the means to fight for justice, and that creates negotiating leverage for workers.
  • The USW Education Department provides local union leaders high-level trainings on shop steward duties, negotiations, labor law, duties of officers, safety & health regulations, and many other topics to help run your Local better.
  • The USW and Local 2801, have the resources available to provide paid leave to members and provide expert training to your shop stewards and safety representatives so they can better do the difficult job of holding bosses accountable and enforcing the protections of your contract.

If folks remove your union, you won’t have a labor contract or any of its protections, such as protections from unjust termination, or a right to arbitrate disputes. The resources described above will no longer be available without a union. Destroying your union means putting your trust in LBMMC management to decide what’s best for you – including setting new work rules, discipline policies, wage rates, job duties, benefits, overtime pay and scheduling. Do you trust LBMMC management that much?

I want you to know I’m serious about hearing your concerns and my commitment to responding to them. I invite you to join our remote contract discussion meeting on January 6th – please sign up for our USW 2801 text notifications to receive the invite link to participate in our contract negotiations discussion. I’ve included the information with this letter.

We are resuming negotiations with LBMMC on January 11, 2021. I will directly work with your Local Negotiating Committee and Staff Representative and involve the significant resources of the International Union in these negotiations going forward. You will have all these assets in your corner as we demand LBMMC return to bargaining to negotiate a fair contract.

I’ll be out in Long Beach and hope to meet many of you as soon as travel is possible. My assistant, Jim Kilborn, and Staff Representative Miguel Garcia will also be helping out in this all-hands effort to help respond to concerns and make a plan to help you win a contract with real improvements. But, to get to the bargaining table, we need you to reject the petition being circulated that seeks to remove the union at LBMMC and silence your voice.

We want you to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about the bargaining process, the harmful petition being circulated, or you would like to get more involved in making Local 2801 stronger and better as we move forward together. Please feel free to contact your local union leadership, your bargaining committee, your staff representative, or any of the district staff involved.

In solidarity,

Gaylan Z. Prescott Director, USW District 12

Receive USW text notifications by TEXTING: 2801 to the number 47486
USW Local 2801 website address: https://uswlocals.org/local-2801
USW Local 2801 email address: [email protected]
USW Staff Representative Dianne Kanish’s office: (626) 966-6852