Hello again, Happy Spring! The days are getting longer and warmer, spring flowers are in bloom it, looks like another winter is behind us.
As this issue of the “776 Review” went into production I was involved in the YRCW National Contract Negotiations. Teamster members at YRC, New Penn and Holland have been working under concessions for many years as these companies tried to strengthen their financial status. I am happy to report that the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee has reached a tentative agreement with YRCW. The present contract has been extended until May 31 to allow time for the tentative agreement to be approved by the Local Unions representing YRCW members before presenting the agreement to the members for ratification.
When the Officers, Agents, and I first took office in 2015 we committed to you to rebuild the strength Local 776 had with other Teamster Locals and within the IBT. I am happy to report that we now have Local 776 representatives on the following National Committees: Secretary- Treasurer Ron Hicks on the ABF National Negotiating Committee, Business Agent Spencer Dearth on the UPS Freight National Negotiating Committee, Business Agent Dave Licht on the UPS National Negotiating and Grievance Committees and also the important Article 43 Premium Services Committee, and myself on the YRCW National Negotiating Committee. The appointments to these important committees allow the Local to participate first hand in these important negotiations, making sure that our members concerns are addressed.
I would like to take a moment to share with you my thoughts about who are Union is: It is not me, nor the Officers and Business Agents you have entrusted to run our great Local. To coin a phrase, there in no ME in Union, only a YOU. You, the members are our Union. You, who get up every day, go to work providing for your families, forging a better way of life for yourselves are our Union. It is because of your belief and support of Trade Unionism that our Local is strong, that we are able to negotiate strong collective bargaining agreements and then enforce them when the employers try to shirk their agreed to responsibilities. It is through your support of our Union Stewards, the backbone of our Union, which shows the employers we have a strong united presence on the job. It is through your support of the Business Agents that our strength shows to the employers. They see a united Local Union working together not fighting among ourselves to the detriment of the members.
Recently there have been several articles posted on the Local Union Website concerning political activity related to Pro Union candidates, along with Union Members, winning elections across the country. Some see this as a grass roots resurgence of working men and women who are saying “Enough”. Enough of corporate attacks on my job and way of life as the corporations line the pockets of politicians and tell them to enact legislation to tip the balance of labor legislation in their favor. Enough of seeing good American jobs shipped overseas to increase the bottom line by using inferior, under paid labor. Enough on the attacks against my Union by over turning long standing legislation related to Union Organizing and the ability to collect Union Dues for services rendered. 2020 is an election year and Local 776, along with the rest of organized Labor will be standing at the forefront of the fight to elect candidates who share and respect our views, and are willing to stand beside us in saying enough is enough!
On April 28, Local 776 along with the Unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job, and to renew the fight for safe jobs. The observance will again be held in York at Kiwanis Lake. Join Local 776 at the memorial service as we honor those who lost their lives simply by going to work to provide for their families.
In closing I would like to thank you, the members, for your support of the Local Union. When I look at what we accomplish as a Local Union; the solidarity we exhibit, and the determination to work together for the good of the Union I am filled with a sense of pride in knowing that the Officers, Business Agents, and I are doing what you elected us to do.
Ed Thompson, President Teamsters Local 776