March 2018 President's Newsletter

Sisters and Brothers, 

The nominations are in and the ballot will soon be set for the upcoming Local Union Officer and Bargaining-Committee elections that are set for April 24th and 25th. It is always good to see interest from our Sisters and Brothers who want to step up and help lead this Local Union both now and in the future. The Union bulletin boards throughout the plant have several postings pertaining to the nomination and election process. One of the postings deals with the requirement to have attended at least one third of the monthly membership meetings in the 24 months preceding the April election in order to run for an Officer position. Even though our International Union’s Constitution has this meeting requirement it has been challenged in the courts and we have lost. As a result there is no meetings requirement for anyone running for office. There is, however, a meeting requirement for anyone running for Policy or the 4 Divisional Chairman spots. I am encouraging you to ask the candidates what their involvement has been before you cast your ballot. There will soon be campaign flyers and buttons in all the breakrooms. Regardless of who you are supporting please be respectful to all the candidates and their handouts. Remember that we are on the same team. Please do your part and vote on April 24th or 25th.

Here is an update on the Flexday issue. In December we took this issue with us to discuss at the Interim meetings in Florida. We had two meetings with most of the top people from the Company in attendance. At the conclusion Bill Fiala from the Company told us he would put a Memorandum of Agreement together that would supposedly settle this issue. When we received the Memorandum of Agreement in January it was totally unacceptable and concessionary in many ways. It basically said that the Company could deny a Flexday at any time for production requirements. We would never agree to this especially now when most departments are running shorthanded and we are struggling to hire people. One of the other concessions was that the Company could deny Flexdays across the board on what they called a “Special Production Day”. This was in response to our discussions on the grievance we have on file concerning the Company denying Flexdays on all Saturdays. We politely let Bill know that the proposal was unacceptable. Since then, regardless of what the Company has said in the ALL Plant meetings or on the floor, we have heard NOTHING from the Company on the settlement of this issue. We had already chosen an arbitrator and have been given the date of May 10th to arbitrate the issue. Because you never know how an arbitrator will rule and also because their ruling is precedent setting and binding there is a general rule that you should exhaust every option before arbitrating. After hearing nothing from the Company we decided to file a Section 8(a)(5) labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board in Milwaukee charging that the Company was not Bargaining in Good Faith on this issue. After that we soon filed an amended Section 8(d) charge contending that the Company made a Mid-Term Modification to the Contract without the Union’s consent. We have recently received a letter from the NLRB stating that under their Deferral Policy they are postponing making a final determination until the parties Grievance/Arbitration provision of the current contract has been utilized. Unless the Company moves on this issue we will be arbitrating May 10th. We will keep you informed on the progress of this extremely important issue where the Company is literally forcing us to sell our hard earned vacation days.


In Solidarity,

Steve Vonk

President USW Local 310L