Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a happy and safe Holiday Season. A new year is upon us; a new year with new challenges; when we meet those challenges with determination and full force oftentimes new opportunities present themselves.
I would like to congratulate Governor Tom Wolf on his re-election this past November and wish him well in his second term as Governor. It is to our advantage to have a friend of organized labor in Harrisburg and I hope to continue the open dialog we established with Governor Wolf.
I would like to start the year with a short “State of The Union” message. Due to the tireless work of our organizer, Mark Cicak, the Local Union’s membership increased last year. There is strength in numbers and Mark is intent on building those numbers! Our financial resources again grew last year due to the diligent work of Secretary-Treasurer Ron Hicks and our executive board. Together their prudent allocation of funds allowed our resources to grow while maintaining our service to the membership, grounds, buildings, vehicles, and people. 2018 was a trying time for our members employed by the County of York who work at the Pleasant Acres Nursing home. After numerous public meetings the commissioners voted against the voice of the people who elected them and got out of the nursing home business by selling the facility to a private operator. The Local Union is in the process of negotiating a new agreement with the owners for our members who work at Pleasant Acres. Additionally last year the Local Union was involved in three separate national contract negotiations: ABF Freight, UPS Freight, and UPS. 2018 saw a change in format for our annual family picnic. After much discussion it was decided to broaden the scope of the picnic from a picnic/baseball game to a picnic/amusement park activity. The change was made with the hope the family picnic would appeal to a larger group of the membership. Response to the picnic being held at Knoebels was overwhelming, the number of registrants for the picnic doubled over previous years. Everything was set for a fun-filled day at the park-until the rains came. Despite the bad weather over 3000 members, family, and friends came out to support the picnic and each other. The Local also was active in the communities where our members work and live, helping out when called upon with man power and equipment when needed. When disaster struck the Local responded by providing our tractor-trailer and drivers to move urgently needed supplies to the affected areas of the country. To close out the year were our Holiday activities. From our community services project “Christmas For Kids” to the Christmas Party for members kids and grandkids its all about the Holiday and the kids. Be sure to look over the holiday photo spread on pages 4-5 of this issue of the newsletter. Our roaming photographer may have caught you or your kids at one of the events. Additional photos from our holiday events can also be found on our website. As 2018 came to a close over all the Local Union is larger, stronger, and more secure financially, ready to meet the challenges of 2019 head on.
Looking ahead at 2019 another group of national contracts will be negotiated: YRC, Holland, and New Penn. Preliminary meetings took place the end of last year and we will continue this year to negotiate a new national agreement with these respective employers. For approximately eight years, the companies have been operating under a series of MOUs (memorandum of understanding) designed to address the YRCW’s companies’ financial distress in the wake of the recession and to allow it to restructure. Those MOUs expire on March 31, 2019. We want to get these companies back to a normal NMFA-style contract and we made clear to the companies that we are not interested in concessions in these negotiations. Negotiations will be complex and multiple issues will need to be addressed, particularly when the parties discuss economics. Negotiations are scheduled to resume in early January. A number of Local “White Paper” contracts will also be negotiated this year. Among the “white paper” contracts to be negotiated will be the Local’s largest one; the Hershey Medical Center Contract. We have additional training scheduled for Union Stewards throughout the year. Both new Stewards and “Seasoned Veterans” can benefit from the training provided. Based on feedback we received after last year’s family picnic I’m happy to report that the picnic will again be held at Knoebels Amusement Park. Full details will be announced on the Local Union Website and through bulletin board postings.
No matter who you work for or what you do if you are Teamster you are part of our unique “Family” a true Brotherhood of men and women banding together to stand up for fairness and equality in the workplace. May everyone have a Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!
Ed Thompson, President Teamsters Local 776