Happy New Year! In spite of the difficulties facing us this past 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. Although the events had a different look to them this year due to Covid-19 protocols, it was important to continue our holiday traditions of serving the members and the community. 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 your Local Union. Looking back 2020 was a very busy year for contract negotiations. Our Business Agents, along with their negotiating committees, successfully negotiated twenty-three white paper contracts in house. I could not be more proud of our Business Agents as they found ways to work with the various Covid-19 protocols to bargain with the employers all the while keeping themselves, their negotiating committees, and the employers they met with safe.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread to our area many employers failed to provide the basic PPE recommended by the CDC. As the calls from members came to the Union Hall asking for help the Local quickly put a plan together. Through the efforts of the entire staff at the Union Hall the Local was able to obtain a supply of Hand Sanitizer, Face Masks, and Gloves. Local 776 purchased approximately 250 gallons of hand sanitizer in bulk and packaged it in individual bottles to distribute to the members.
At the end of 2019 I reported that The Local had undertaken the task of digitally cataloging all grievances. 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 digitally scanned and entered into the database to provide a history of past grievances that is quickly accessible to the Business Agents. When the task of entering past grievances is completed the database will contain over 18,000 grievances, easily accessible to the Business Agents at any time.
Due to the tireless efforts of organizer Mark Cicak we have added new members to our fold spanning work groups from portable toilets to office/clerical staff. Mark had to be creative in his endeavors, such as having drive-by meetings with prospective members in parking lots to follow safety protocols.
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. 2020 saw our total assets grow by approximately 16% over 2019.
Unfortunately our Dinner/Dance for DRIVE Members, our family picnic, and monthly membership meetings all had to be canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Wolf. Due to the lifting of restrictions the Local Union again held monthly membership meetings in June, July, and August of 2020 to keep the membership informed on the status of the Local Union.
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 2020 came to a close the Local is larger, stronger, and more united; ready to meet the challenges of 2021 head on with full force and determination.
Looking ahead to 2021 twenty-seven white paper contracts will be negotiated for our members with the same drive and determination as was exhibited in 2020. We will continue to fight for our members rights in the workplace and provide valuable training as well as social activates for the members as conditions allow. Lastly, we will continue to monitor the employers for compliance with COVID-19 protocols to insure the safety of our members in the workplace.
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