President, John P. Sullivan
Just Say Whoa!
Every member of Local Union 602 needs to understand that they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that sets limits to the actions of his or her employer. Simply put, if the boss or his representative wants to institute a new policy or procedure it must either be defined in the existing contract or be submitted to the union for negotiations prior to its being implemented.
Under Section 8(a)5 of the National Labor Relations Act it is “an unfair labor practice for an employer to refuse to bargain collectively with the representatives of his employees, subject to the provisions of section 9(a) of this title. Our Union should press for a decision by the Labor Department every time an individual contractor tries to hammer out a separate agreement of any kind with members of Local 602.
Every member should also understand that they have no right or business agreeing to or signing any plan or policy that has not been subject to negotiations with the local union. You are not only negotiating for yourself but you are also giving in on time honored rights of every other working member. To do so subjects you to charges under our By-laws and Constitution. And right now that is what I am urging.
This may seem harsh but let’s look at the implications of the most recent firestorm in regards to our contract. You may think that you don’t need a morning or afternoon break. Heck, you may not think that you need to eat a lunch. But what about if you are “dead” wrong? And further, what about the results of your decision on the health and well being of all your working brothers and sisters?
Obesity and diabetes are the ticking time bombs in all of us. Some of the current medical research on the increase in these two afflictions is centering on our eating patterns. Our bodies today are essentially the same as our most distant ancestors. We are descended from hunter/gatherers. A big meal was the exception. The norm was eating a series of smaller meals throughout the day. Eating raises our blood sugar/glucose levels. Work and exercise lowers our blood sugar/glucose levels. In between the highs and lows are bodies are stressed to bring things back into balance. The ideal is to have a constant mid point metabolic level between the time we rise to the time we settle down and sleep. There is a growing number that believe that we should be ingesting five to six smaller meals a day with moderate work and exercise in between. Do that and moderate a few of your other bad habits and you may live to be a hundred years old in good health without all of those other “enhancements”.
Are we eating and working ourselves to a premature death? Probably. Should we be moderating our life styles to achieve better health? Most definitely. So how the hell does skipping meals and giving up breaks fit into all of this? You are killing yourself and worse, you are killing your union brothers and sisters. We don’t need fewer breaks; we need more, especially on ten and twelve hour shifts. Dang, I think that we have an issue for negotiations in 2010.
Hey Southland, look what you just started. Hey MCA, look at what your renegade contractor just started. If they are your stalking horse for 2010 you’ve made a big mistake. You just woke up every working member of the Local.
Here is my advice to all when approached by management to sign anything…JUST SAY WHOA! Put the message on your hardhat, write it on the wall, tattoo it into your pre-frontal lobes. Be “polite” and sign with the disclaimer, “Whoa, I am a member of Local 602 who is covered under a collective bargaining agreement. In regards to your request, I can not agree to violate that agreement”.
JUST SAY WHOA!