Immediately after reaching a deal that ended last month's transit strike, some of BART's top managers were privately insisting they got the better end of the bargain. They claimed to be actually happy with the public perception that they caved in giving workers a 15.4 percent raise over four years.
From the Boston IWW
On the weekend of Nov. 16-17, the Boston IWW held two separate actions in Harvard Square to protest the Cambridge Police’s Nov. 14th attack on our legal picket at Insomnia Cookies, where the union is conducting an organizing drive. Cambridge cops swarmed our picket, assaulted and then arrested a Wobbly — supposedly for assaulting them! Our Fellow Worker was punched, thrown on a car trunk and then the ground, and pinned partially under a car before being dragged away. This was a totally unprovoked attack on a legal picket on a public sidewalk. IWW members and allies protested in Harvard Square on Friday Nov. 15, and returned on Saturday, Nov. 16, making the streets of Cambridge ring with our chants (“Cambridge PD / Stop the brutality!”), and letting community members know what local cops have been doing to suppress labor rights, civil liberties and free speech.
Thirty-one ILWU members from Local 13’s Allied Division unanimously approved a new 5-year contract in October with Oxbow Carbon & Minerals in Long Beach.
The new agreement protects existing standards and includes improvements.
“We won a good agreement thanks to the involvement of everyone at work, and the support from our longshore brothers and sisters who work all around us at Piers 212 and 214 in Long Beach,” said Steve Cannon who was elected to serve on the Negotiating Committee, along with Daniel Salazar, Andres Ceja and Jesus “Chuy” Guzman.
Cannon helped the Negotiating Committee prepare by calculating that the company was generating over $2 billion in annual revenue, and had labor costs amounting to roughly $3.5 million per year, so there were funds available to pay for a decent contract.
The new 5-year agreement will:
- Maintain current health benefits.
- Raise annual pay by 4% each year.
- Increase the employers annual 401(k) contributions by $6000-$7500.
- Add two more paid holidays; Bloody Thursday and Veterans Day.
- Add another Personal Day for anyone working 8-hour shifts.
- Increase paid vacation days to 5 weeks after 15 years and 6 weeks after 20.
- Improve grievance language.
- Require the company to provide quality tools (Craftsman, Snap-On, Williams)
- Improve drug testing procedures by using swabs instead of urine.
- Provide for voluntary blood testing to monitor hydrocarbon & metal exposures
The Oxbow Carbon & Mineral operation in Long Beach collects petroleum coke, which is a byproduct from oil refineries in the region. Most of the “pet-coke” is then shipped overseas where it is often used to fuel cement kilns, or to smelt steel and aluminum.
“We were clear about our goals from the beginning,” said Negotiating Committee member Jesus “Chuy” Guzman. “We stuck together and got tremendous help from Local 13, including hands-on help from Bobby Olvera, Jr. and Vice President Julie Brady.”
Guaranteed Extra Boards
I have been involved in the negotiations of many ATDA Agreements since 1987 and I have never reached an Agreement that provides that the extra board is not guaranteed. In fact, when I became a train dispatcher on the SP in 1981, I was on a guaranteed extra board. That was 32 years ago. Now someone suggests that the ATDA would regress over 30 years and make an agreement that the extra board would not be guaranteed? Well, that person is wrong.
The main purpose of the extra board is to be on call to fill the vacancies caused by vacation, illness and many other reasons. Those that are on the extra board have a quality of life that has a lot to be desired. The ATDA has been and is committed to bettering the quality of life for the extra board by enhancing the conditions under which extra board dispatchers work, some of which include:
· having a wage guarantee,· having assigned rest days,· having consecutive rest days,· having extra board positions considered regularly assigned positions,· having extra board positions bulletined and filled by seniority choice,· having extra board dispatchers referred to as Guaranteed Assigned Dispatchers (GADs)· having defined calling times (ie., two hours before the start of the shift),· having an exclusion that GADs are not required to be available for call before or after the call time,· having a provision that defines the different GAD zones,· having a restriction on the number of positions a GAD is required to learn,· having an exception that allows a GAD to learn more positions at his/her own choice,· having the GAD in the order of call for overtime service, and,· having a requirement that the GAD be paid off assignment when used off zone
While I may have forgotten something, the point is that we continuously strive to better the quality of life for all those we represent including those on the extra board.
I'm not sure how many decades have passed since "many union contracts that UP has negotiated for in the past that extra boards are not guaranteed" or what the credentials of the person is that made that statement. Regardless, the ATDA does not pattern its work rule negotiations after what other unions may or may not negotiate. As I have previously said, ATDA's negotiations are based on what the train dispatchers who will be covered by the agreement want and ultimately ratified. They are not based on what some other ATDA train dispatchers want, much less what some other union does or doesn't do.
The guaranteed extra board provisions of ATDA Agreements are written, binding contracts between the parties that requires the company to pay those on the guaranteed extra board at least 40 hours' pay each week regardless of the number of hours they work, as long as they are available for a call during the defined calling times. The company cannot work you two days a week and pay you only for the days you work. And, you are entitled to two rest days each week.
Why would we even suggest to the UP dispatchers something like a non-guaranteed extra board that would be so far inferior to what we have on other ATDA properties? Why would the UP dispatchers even consider ratifying such a thing? They wouldn't.
David W. Volz
American Train Dispatchers Association
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