Happy Thanksgiving

FROM THE OFFICERS AND STEWARDS OF SENA 9158

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES

Hope to see you all on December 8th General Membership Meeting.

Please stay safe in your holiday plans and travel.

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Health Care

Ensuring Affordable and Accessible Health Care

USW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 3

The labor movement has always fought for affordable healthcare for workers and their families, both through collective bargaining and legislatively. But even with our ability to bargain, union members far too often must relinquish raises to sustain decent health insurance. In fact, in a membership survey earlier this year, USW members and retirees rated “affordable healthcare and prescription drugs” as their top issue.

Protecting the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA)

The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 marked a key moment in expanding health care in America. While we’ve worked to perfect the bill in that time, others have repeatedly tried to repeal it in its entirety, gutting protections for USW members and retirees, and wreaking havoc on the healthcare of millions of American families. The Administration is currently arguing for the law to be overturned at the Supreme Court. This case will be heard shortly after the election. This would mean:

  • 20 million People Would Lose Health Insurance – About 20 million people who gained health insurance through the law, both through its expansion of Medicaid and through subsidized private plans on the “exchange,” would lose coverage if it is struck down. The pandemic-related job losses mean that even more people are likely relying on ACA coverage now. States that expanded Medicaid, would also see particularly sharp spikes in the uninsured.
  • Pre-Existing Condition Protections Would be Gone – The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that almost 54 million Americans have a pre-existing condition that would lead to them being denied coverage if they could not get insurance through a job and had to try to buy on the individual market without the ACA’s protections. These folks are not statistics – they are our family, neighbors, and friends.
  • Kids Up to Age 26 Are No Longer Guaranteed Coverage – If the ACA were struck down, the ability for parents to keep their kids on their insurance until age 26 would go away, and it would be up to each employer to decide whether to keep the provision for their health plan. We know what that means: concessions at the table to maintain what the law currently guarantees.
  • Lifetime and Annual Caps Would Return – The ACA prohibits health plans from putting a lifetime or annual dollar limit on benefits you receive – an issue we would often see at the bargaining table. This was a game changer for those with high treatment costs associated with chronic illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Previous to the ACA, coverage could be terminated once the cap had been reached.
  • Retirees and Seniors Will Take a Hit – The ACA reduces prescription drug costs when hitting the “doughnut hole.” Previously, when seniors hit this “hole,” they had to pay 100 percent of costs. Additionally, the ACA provides no-cost preventative screenings, a free wellness exam when joining Medicare, and protections against rising costs and age discrimination.

Whether it’s being able to keep our college aged children on our coverage, not having a lifetime cap on coverage, or worrying about how a pre-existing condition could affect coverage and affordability in the future –we know that there is much at stake should the ACA be overturned by the Supreme Court in November.

Protecting Our Right to Collectively Bargain

USW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 2



Protecting Our Right to Collectively BargainUSW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 2For decades, CEOs and their well-heeled lobbyists have found allies in anti-union lawmakers. These partnerships have resulted in anti-union laws like so-called right to work and the appointment of judges who are quick to rule against us. And, as we’ve seen in the past few years, they’re also tilting power away from workers thanks to a team of corporate appointees at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the very agency charged with safeguarding the rights of workers to organize and engage in collective bargaining.Many of these decisions from the NLRB aren’t making headlines, but they matter a great deal for our ability to get, secure, and enforce good contracts. Some of the rules the Board is overturning have existed for decades. Here are just a few examples:Allowed companies to implement policy changes without bargaining. The Board issued a decision allowing for an employer to make changes unilaterally to its policies and practices without bargaining. Less than a month after one of our locals ratified their contract, their company made changes to their health insurance because management is trying to take advantage of this ruling. In other situations, we’ve seen companies change attendance, drug, and other policies.Allowed employers to put workers in danger. In a series of five memos to their regional directors, the Board concluded that an employer is not obligated to engage in midterm bargaining regarding union proposals for paid sick leave and hazard pay during the pandemic. They also said that an employer does not have to bargain about a temporary closure. For workers who speak up about a dangerous situation on the job, the Board has decided that is not protected speech. This means that they can be fired by their employer. This guidance came after a case was filed by a nurse who was fired after  refusing to work at a nursing home that was requiring workers to share isolation gowns.Allowed employers to retaliate against the union. One USW employer wanted to celebrate after a profitable quarter. Normally, the union and the company would get together and plan a day off; it was always considered normal communication. Instead, the employer gave management the day off while leaving union workers working. An administrative law judge saw this as a “straightforward punishment of union employees in retaliation for past protected activity under the Act.” The Board overturned the judge’s ruling, saying it was ok not to bargain and that it was management’s right to not grant the day off for these workers.And so much more. – The Board has also made it easier for employers to decertify unionsmore difficult for contract employees and workers at franchise businesses to join unions, and sought to dramatically lengthen the timetable for union elections and limit access to workers, giving employers major advantages when they seek to bust unions.

How do we reverse these trends? It is critical that Congress hold the NLRB accountable. Lawmakers must also prioritize reforms that will restore the original promise of 1935’s National Labor Relation Act, which has eroded over time. Our union has done that work by pushing for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which was successful in the House but was stopped in the Senate. It’s also critical to have people in all decision-making positions in our government who will encourage and promote the formation of unions and the practice of collective bargaining.

Protecting Our Right to Collectively Bargain

Protecting Our Right to Collectively BargainUSW Core Values Educational Series – Issue 1Our union understood right from the beginning that we couldn’t rely solely on negotiations to better our members’ lives. We would also have to push our government to act. Elected officials could help us by passing legislation to make us safer on the job, help us secure pensions, get better working hours, and more. A legislative gain meant one more thing we didn’t have to bargain over. We could then focus on even greater goals in our negotiations.We know to be powerful, we have to work for laws and policies that support us. Our core issues include: collective bargaining, safety and health, job security (trade), domestic economic issues (infrastructure investment, domestic procurement and policies that bring fairness to the workplace), health care, and retirement security. These are the fights that help us build family-supportive, good jobs and strong communities. They reflect our values and a vision of the America that works for workers.Over the next few weeks, Rapid Response will be doing a series of educational pieces around these core issues and how we work to protect them. This is the first of that series.Collective Bargaining, Our Right to Organize, and an Anti-Union NLRBOur legally-protected right to organize and collectively bargain – Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, creating a clear legal pathway for workers to join together to form labor unions and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions. It also established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB is tasked with overseeing union elections and handling labor rights violations. It is governed by a five-person board (one member’s term expires each year) and a General Counsel (four-year term), all of whom are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate.Anti-union NLRB appointees – Two recently-appointed Board members have long histories working for corporations to advance anti-worker and anti-union decisions. Bill Emanuel was a shareholder at Littler Mendelson and Chairman John Ring was a partner at Morgan Lewis, two of the largest union avoidance firms in the US. The Board takes their guidance from its General Counsel, Peter Robb.A General Counsel with a history of breaking unions – Robb, a notorious anti-union crusader, has worked for a series of union-busting law firms and, in 1981, was instrumental in President Reagan’s firing of striking air traffic controllers, one of the most notorious labor actions in U.S. history. Almost immediately upon assuming his role as general counsel, Robb issued a memo outlining the categories of cases issued by the NLRB under the prior Administration, for which he may seek to overturn precedent. The majority of those cases were wins for unions.

Solidarity Event for National Grid

Please join our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Solidarity

The Boston City Council will be conducting a hearing on Public Safety as it relates to the National Grid Lock out.

Tuesday, October 30th, 11am
Boston City Hall – Council Chambers

Annual Retirement Banquet / Scholarship Applications

The 32nd Annual Retirement Banquet will be held on October 12th 2018
At Florian Hall 55 Hallet St · Boston, MA

Tickets are now available for purchase. See your stewards for tickets. Last day to purchase tickets will be Friday October 5th.
Only 2 tickets per Member- 1 ticket for the member and 1 guest ticket only.

Scholarship Applications are now being accepted though September 28th, 2018 Applications can be down loaded from this website. Please fill it out and return it to your steward or any e-board member before the deadline. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
Please one scholarship application per member.

Support Our locked Out National Grid Members Of Locals 12003 and 12012.

Support our Brothers and Sisters at National Grid join them on the plaza Wednesday July 18th at 4:PM.

“We need to show that the Boston Labor Community has the backs of these courageous union members”

Rich Rogers

Executive SecretaryTreasurer

Greater Boston Labor Council

See Attached Flyer  USW Rally Flyer 

Please click on the website below and see how ruthless National Grid really is.

https://www.lockoutatnationalgrid.com/letters-of-support

 

Save the Date: Rally to Support Locked Out Gas Workers

I’m asking all our Brothers and Sisters of SENA 9158 at City Hall to take a half hour of your lunch and back our fellow USW brother and sister of National Grid who need our help with there rally on City Hall Plaza. Please stand together with your bothers and sisters.  Remember There Is Strength In Number.

In Solidarity

Joe

 

Save the Date: Rally to Support Locked Out Gas Workers

Support Locked out USW members from Locals 12003 and 12012 in their fight against National Grid

Wednesday, July 18 4pm

March from Boston City Hall to the State House

National Grid is looking to line the pockets of their executives on the backs of their highly skilled workforce and willing to jeopardize public safety for profits. They cut off the workers health care benefits in a shameful effort to break the will of the locked-out workers. On July 18th we need to show that the Boston Labor Community has the backs of these courageous union members.

Rich Rogers

Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Greater Boston Labor Council

Please email me at rrogers@gblc if your union is willing to co-sponsor the rally.