A Message form Local 776 President Ed Thompson
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a happy, joyous, and safe Holiday Season. Here at Local 776 it was a busy time of the year beginning with our Children’s Christmas Party, sharing extra gifts from the party with others, and helping others in need during the holiday season with our Christmas for Kids community services project. Details on these activities can be found in the newsletter and also on the Local’s website at www.teamsterslocal776.org.
I would like to take this time, at the start of another new year, to share with you the state of our Local Union. Looking back 2019 was a very busy year for contract negotiations. National contracts were negotiated and ratified for UPS, UPS Freight, YRC and New Penn. A large portion of our members work under these agreements and throughout the process the Local Union had Business Agents involved at the national level of negotiations insuring that our members concerns were addressed. Additionally The Local Unions “white paper” contracts with Hershey Medical Center and Pleasant Acres Nursing Home were successfully negotiated and ratified. Both of these contracts cover over 1600 of our members and were successfully negotiated locally by their Business Agent Dave Vrona, supported by the respective bargaining committees. Strength is in numbers, and our numbers continue to grow. Due to the tireless efforts of organizer Mark Cicak we have added new members to our fold covering workers employed in job classifications from law enforcement to line clearing tree trimmers. Our financial resources, managed by Secretary-Treasurer Ron Hicks and the Local Union Executive Board, again grew last year due to their diligent work and prudent allocation of our resources while maintaining our service to the membership, grounds, buildings, vehicles, and people. 2019 saw our total assets grow by approximately 12% over 2018. Again in 2019 our family picnic was held at Knoebels Amusement Park, but something was different in 2019; the weather gods cooperated! Providing us with a sunny, mild day; with just enough of a breeze to make it comfortable. Over 5,000 members, spouses, kids, grandkids, and retirees had registered for the picnic, making it one of the Local’s largest member events! When natural disaster struck the country the Local Union was again called on to transport needed supplies to our fellow Americans in need. The Local’s truck could be seen heading up and down the highway carrying out our mission of “People Helping People” As 2019 came to a close the Local is larger, stronger, and more united; ready to meet the challenges of 2020 head on with full force and determination.
Looking ahead to 2020 twenty three white paper contracts will be negotiated for our members with the same drive and determination as was exhibited in 2019. We will continue to fight for our members rights in the workplace and provide valuable training as well as social activates for the members.
The Local has recently undertaken the task of digitally cataloging all grievances. A dedicated computer is being used for this task; as grievances are received at the Local Union they are being entered into a database that can then be sorted by employer, member, date filed, article number, etc. Additionally past grievances are being digitally scanned and entered into the database to provide a history of past grievances that is quickly accessible to the Business Agents.
Through desire, determination, dedication, and hard work the Local Union is again looked upon with respect by other Locals and the IBT. Our Business Agents again hold positions on important Area and International Committees that directly affect our membership. Your Leadership Team is focused on one goal: providing the membership with the best possible representation we can deliver day in and day out.
In this last paragraph I mentioned respect with regard to the Local’s interaction with other Locals and the IBT. What is respect, how do we garner it and use it positively? Oxford defines respect as: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
The Officers and Business Agents demonstrate their abilities daily in the course of their job. It is their ability to handle difficult situations and arrive at a fair and equitable resolution for the members that leads to respect being garnered. The qualities they demonstrate daily as leaders of this Local Union; always above board and with the members’ best interests in mind leads to respect being garnered. And lastly it is their achievements they obtain by their hard work, be it getting a discharged member back on the job, resolving a seniority issue, or negotiating an excellent contract agreement, that garner respect from their peers at other Locals and the IBT. It is with all of the above traits, their drive and determination exhibited daily, that again earned the Local Union the respect it once held and has again justly earned. One example of this is UPS Business Agent Dave Licht. Dave is currently wearing so many different hats that I’ll have to get him a hat rack for his office! Along with his appointment as Union Co-Chair of the Central PA Grievance Committee and Negotiating Committee Dave also sits on the National Grievance Committee, the Article 26 committee, and the Article 43 Premium Services committee. These appointments didn’t just happen, Dave was observed by IBT officials locally at Central Pa hearings as well as national hearings and they liked what they saw. It was through Dave’s hard work and determination that he was offered these appointments. The same can be said about Business Agent Spencer Dearth and the UPS Freight Negotiating Committee position he holds as well as Secretary-Treasurer Ron Hicks and his position on the ABF National Negotiating committee.
I’m proud to say that there is an atmosphere around the Local that can be seen and heard. The Local continues to grow Teamster Power and also Teamster Pride! Members can be seen wearing Local 776 T-Shirts, hats, caps, and jackets around town, proudly displaying their membership in the Teamsters. Teamster Pride can be heard by talking to the members, and also listening how they speak to each other; noticing the pride they display talking about their Local Union. With all of the above happening at our Local Union I’ve never been more inclined to say: I’m Proud to be a Local 776 Teamster! Best wishes for a Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!
President Teamsters Local 776