Our vote last Wednesday evening to settle the contract was OUR LAST OFFER. We have drawn a line in the sand. We have compromised all that we can. We can go no further. No mas…No more.
The rest is up to all of the contractors, those who are members of the MCA and those that have chosen to remain independent of their actions. Either they agree to settle or they entice us to strike in a traditional manner. There is no alternative.
We believe that the negotiating team representing the MCA has been irresponsible from the beginning. Their initial offer of a 10% cut was ridiculous. Their second offer of a convoluted plan that would have us working five years from now at our current rate was further insulting. Every offer beyond that has been found to be woefully lacking and rejected by the membership of Local 602.
We have put up with a pout from the MCA negotiators about their failures in the 2007 negotiations for far too long. When the MCA negotiators can’t separate the personal from the professional it is time that those that who would favor good will over ill will to take charge or seek an independent solution.
We have shown a level of restraint that has stressed our Union to its limit. We have avoided hitting every contractor and every job that we could have. We have been brought to the edge of an internal rebellion. All of our sensibilities have been ignored. We will go no further. OUR LAST OFFER is OUR FINAL OFFER.
The countdown has begun. The Business Manager has committed to the Executive Board, the general officers, and the membership that we will strike each and every contractor that does not accept OUR FINAL OFFER. That is how he got the positive vote on your proposal. He can’t drag his feet because we are committed to holding them to the fire.
Any national contractor or any independent contractor that agrees to our proposal will be spared from the direct affects of a strike action. However, they should understand that their Union workers will reach into their pockets to support the members that are forced by the MCA’s to strike. They will have angry workers before we have angry members. I promise you that they will be educated as to why they are made to reach into their pockets. The promise is that it will get ugly in short order.
We will work to the rule where we must but we will do everything that we can to end anything beyond that. Job deadlines and resulting damages are no longer our worry. Their relationship with the general contractor is no longer our concern.
We have already committed a half million dollars to support our members who actively strike. We will supplement what we must with an assessment to all working members. Our members are obligated by our Constitution and ByLaws to pay their assessments before they pay their dues. If they fail to keep up their additional payment for their dues they will be forced out of the Union and loose their medical and pension benefits.
The contractors can pack the hall with bootlick lackies, apologists, and company men to continue to undermine our future votes but that does not matter now. We remain committed by our Constitution and ByLaws to support our General Fund. It is what supports our continued existence.
If the General Fund is drawn down we will shed what office staff and materials that are necessary. We will cancel all future picnics, golf outings, charitable contributions, etc. We will constrict as is necessary. If we must, we will. Each time that we do so we will remind our members who is responsible for our plight.
There is nothing more sacred than our General Fund and that includes the Apprentice Fund. We would arguably collapse our effort in expanding into Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland. We might have to cut the number of coordinators and reduce teacher salaries. We would most likely stop all our expensive public relations recruitment efforts.
Most members don’t understand our expenses but they will before we force them to reach into their pockets to further to prop up the General Fund. All budgets will be laid bare. All will suffer if this is taken to the next level. My advice first to all independents and then to the members of the MCA, settle this strike now. You have our FINAL OFFER, accept it or suffer the consequences. I promise both sides of this impasse that if we are made to peal back the layers of the stinking onion, further tears will be shed.