Your Voice, Your Choice
OPEIU Local 39
December 2017
Happy New Year?
At the end of 2016, this newsletter warned that workers might find 2017 to be a "very hard road" and it certainly has proven to be a challenging ride. Now, just at the end of this year, we are faced with two huge detours for 2018: the potential for disastrous changes in the tax code and the end of net neutrality. But what does that mean and what can we do about it now? More below.

It seems scant comfort, but 2017 could have been worse! Here's hoping that your 2018 will be better than anything we could predict now. Happy New Year to all.
Hurry! Call Today!
GOP Tax plan could prove disastrous
At the start of this year, the Republican party took control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. They've found it difficult to turn that power into legislation up to this point. That could change if they push through their sweeping and potentially disastrous tax overhaul. A vote could come as soon as next week.

The AFL-CIO says: "We know the Republican tax plan favors the super-rich and the wealthy corporations over working people." Most scoring and legitimate reports on the bill shows that the middle and working class will see tax increases within a few years at most, all the while piling several trillion dollars more to the debt, all in order to give the already-wealthy even more of our money.

It gets worse. The Economic Policy Institute shows how the tax plan will "reduce American competitiveness" in the coming years, particularly if the debt that will balloon with this unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy increase interest rates here and abroad.

By every account, workers will pay more, get less, have fewer job prospects and face more outsourcing. Steven Rosenblatt, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center says: " But contrary to the claims of President Trump and congressional supporters, the new approach may still encourage U.S. companies to shift production overseas."

But wait. There's more bad news.

Since Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier in the year (thanks in large part to the activities of working people like us making our voices heard) they hope to do irreparable harm
to the ACA by using this bill to eliminate the individual mandate. According to J.B. Silvers at the NY Times: "Within a year or two of elimination of the mandate, the individual insurance market will resemble the failed pre-Obamacare days when pre-existing conditions and high premiums made access impossible."

If you're not yet convinced that this tax bill is a scam to move wealth upwards, click on the link to the AFL-CIO at the top of this article for more information.

The Senate and the House have reached a compromise on their versions of the bill. Even as they plan a "sprint to the finish line" the final version of the bill has not been disclosed. Also, Senate tradition dictates that the new Senator from Alabama should be seated before a vote, but that seems unlikely. So we're running out of time.

Call the number in the graphic above. Click on the graphic to get more information. Email if you don't like to call, but that's not as effective. Do it today. And if that isn't enough to convince them that adding several trillion dollars to the debt for no benefit to the majority of Americans is a bad idea, there are important elections coming up in 2018. When it comes time to vote, remember who made your life more difficult to give more money to the wealthy.
The End of Net Neutrality
On December 14th, the Republican-majority FCC voted to repeal Obama-era protections that kept the "information superhighway" open to all who used it. What does this mean and why should we care?

Up until now, all content available on the internet -- whether a it was created by Netflix or by your local Union -- had an equal chance of getting its content to you when you request it. Net neutrality meant that you can get Netflix even if your cable company has their own streaming media service that they'd prefer you use. It meant that you could as easily go to the DNC page as the page for the RNC.

With the end of net neutrality, all of that could end. A report on CNN's Money page says: "The FCC is doing away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC would also eliminate a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content."

The worst-case, nightmare scenario is that ISPs start blocking information they don't want you to see, like access to political groups that might oppose ISPs blocking of content! Most likely, we will have to start purchasing internet access like we do cable access now. According to Wired magazine: "without a dramatic departure from current practices, the future internet, then, could look a more extreme version of today's mobile plans, with different pricing tiers for different levels of video quality for different apps."

This is likely not over. Just like the tax bill mentioned above, net neutrality will most likely become a political issue in 2018. Pay attention to the people running for office. Find out where they stand on the issue, and vote accordingly.
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 21, 2018
May 16, 2018
August 15, 2018
November 14, 2018

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.