Your Voice, Your Choice
OPEIU Local 39
December 2016
An Ending and a Beginning

There are many of us who are not looking back at 2016 with any sort of fondness. From the deaths of favorite musicians and actors, to record high temperatures world wide, to the culmination of a political season that has been just hurtful to so many, 2016 has not been a good year.

What that means is that 2017 needs to be a year where we find common ground as workers and Union members. This isn't time to give up, it is time to get started.

Unions in the Trump Era
Are You Ready?
March on the Capital

There are many of us who voted in a way that they honestly believed would be beneficial to either themselves as workers or even workers in general. But with Donald Trump poised to be sworn in next month, the early indications are that workers and Unions -- which are the only remaining voice of workers at the national level -- are in for a very hard road.

It started with Trump's "deal" with Carrier, one that he positioned as big win for workers. But as soon as Chuck Jones, the President of Local 1999, pointed out that the deal was the opposite of a "win", Trump immediately attacked Chuck personally. As news of the attack spread, workers and Unions vowed to #StandwithChuck.

It gets worse. Trump announced that Andrew Puzder would head up the Labor department. This is a man who seems to not only be against worker's rights, he seems to be against workers! "[Machines are] always polite, they always upsel, the never take a vacation..."

Unions and workers both lost big in November. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything we can do. It's time that we stop looking to the Feds to advance worker's rights and we start doing it ourselves. In a great article in Jacobin magazine, Dave Kamper lays out the many challenges facing the country and its workers, from the small number of people who belong to a Union to the volunteer nature of Unions themselves, where the labor movement is"equal parts army and town meeting" pointing out that the coming fight will be "not just about priorities but capacity.... If we have more, we can do more."

There are going to be a number of ways that we -- both as individuals and as part of the Union -- can fight back against the course Trump and the Republicans (who will control all branches of the Federal government) are setting. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich lays out 14 ways to resist during the first 100 days while The Nation magazine proclaims that "All Resistance is Local"  with the need to focus on our cities and towns and local municipalities.

To all of those, let's add our very own Union Local, and let's see how we set the priorities that will ensure our survival over the coming years.

End of Year Reviews

The Companies in our Local have various ways of conducting the "performance review." Some are merely perfunctory but some consume ridiculous amounts of time that could go towards something productive.

However it gets done -- if it gets done -- it has to be done according to the contract that your Company signed with the Union. In a year already marked by unprecedented upheaval, our largest bargaining unit is bracing for another round of performance reviews using "rank and yank."

This has been grieved in the past and the Company insists that forced ranking is NOT being done. This year, there is the very real fear that the company may use the unrealistic workloads brought about by all the layoffs and outsourcing as an excuse to cut the workforce even further by performance-managing people out of their jobs (and saving the Company the cost of actually paying severance).

It is up to us to document everything. Hold management accountable. Use the performance reviews to our benefit. And let the Union know if you have any suspicion that the Company is violating the terms of the contract.

Membership Meetings
Membership meetings are held the third Wednesday of the second month of the quarter, at 5:30 PM in the Union Office.

February 15th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
August 17th, 2017
November 15, 2017

This is your Union. Your participation gives us the strength to face the continued opposition of both companies and politicians.
Unions = Gym Membership
Know Your Weingarten Rights!
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to request union representation during investigatory interviews by supervisors, security personal, and other managerial staff.  These are called Weingarten Rights.
 
An investigatory interview occurs if 1) management questions you to obtain information; and 2) you have reasonable apprehension that your answers could be used as a basis for discipline or other adverse action.
 
You must ask for union representation either before or during an investigatory interview.  Management does not have to remind you of this right.  If your request is refused and Management continues asking questions, you may refuse to answer.  Your employer is guilty of an unfair labor practice and charges may be filed.  If you are questioned in a situation where Weingarten may apply, read or present this statement:

"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion."
Local 39 Union Offices
701 Watson Ave
Ste 102
Madison WI 53713
If you have any news you would like to share with other Members, please let us know! You can contact us via email or on our Facebook page. "Young Prince Black and White painting" photo credit: Dan Lacey via photopin using a Creative Commons license