Joint Board Business

Message from the General Manager, February 2015

E-Board Photo

2014 was a year of direct action for our Union.

Contract Negotiations and Workplace Issues

We won some of the absolute best contracts our members have seen in decades. We handled health and safety issues in manufacturing and distribution. Shop leaders attended a week-long intensive union school to build skills for grievances, organizing, direct action and lobbying for our issues.

Political & Community Outreach

We started January with members at the Civil Rights Conference. In the spring, members met with Fordham students to introduce them to what a union means. Throughout the year, we worked on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We leafleted for paid sick days. We mobilized and demonstrated against global sweatshops. We hit the streets to call attention to global warming and its devastating economic impacts. This fall, we became the labor representative to the City to bring manufacturing work back to NY and improve retail conditions.

Building a Stronger Union

We began making a five-year plan to build a more powerful union with our members. We built our new organizing department and have begun a campaign to add hundreds of workers to our Union. We restructured the Union Health Center. This award winning, nationally recognized health provider has been redesigned to ensure that it will be available to our members, their families and our brothers and sisters in SEIU for years to come.

While we hit the streets for all those fights, we also proudly supported the rededication of our Union owned bank to its original mission. Amalgamated Bank of New York was founded by our Union to serve our members in 1923. Today, it’s easily the most progressive bank in the U.S.

Organizing for Victory

We have accomplished this all through determination, planning and action.  I am so proud to have been elected along with Fred Kaplan and our Executive Board to continue to lead our work into 2015. We know we have a lot of work ahead.

We have laws and politicians determined to force workers to accept the lowest wages and benefits possible. We have businesses trying to eliminate full-time work. We have a Congress that believes people don’t have a right to health care, living wage rates, pensions or the unions that fight for them.

But we’ve seen time and time again that we can win. We’ve proven that direct action results in change. We’ve seen twenty states increase their minimum wage just this month. We know what we need to achieve our goals. We’re building a strong member organizing program to build external power. We’re dedicating resources to increasing our strength. We’re fighting to win in all our shops to protect and improve our contracts and show others what’s possible when we stick together and take action.

This is the work in front of all of us. 2015 is the year our determination and a strong plan will result in real change for all workers in our industries.

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Paul Stuart Stalls Negotiations with the Joint Board

Members of the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, Workers United, employed at Paul Stuart have been in negotiations for a new contract since February 27.  Despite our longstanding, peaceful, and cooperative relationship, the company has repeatedly stalled negotiations, abruptly cancelling bargaining sessions on March 6 and March 13.  The contract expires on March 31, 2014.

Here’s the facts:

FACT:
On 2/14/14 the Union presented Health Insurance renewal rates to the Company in advance of our first meeting which was scheduled for 2/27/14.

FACT:
At our first meeting on 2/27/14, the Union Committee presented all of our other proposals including, non-selling Support Staff wages, Ladies Department wages, Men’s Department revised commission rates, sick and personal day rates, Sunday scheduling, detailed reporting of sales and credits by accounting period as well as other issues to be discussed.

FACT:
On 3/4/14 the Company called us to cancel the meeting scheduled for 3/6/14. The Company said that they needed more information regarding the Union Health Plan.

FACT:
On 3/6/14 the Company sent us an information request regarding the Union Health Plan. We forwarded that request to the Amalgamated National Health Fund that same day.

FACT:
On 3/10/14 a response to the information request was sent to the Company’s attorney by the Health Fund.

FACT:
On 3/12/14 at 4:15pm the Company called to cancel the meeting scheduled for 10:00am today (3/13). The Company said they needed more time to review the Union proposals and more information regarding the Union Health Plan. The Company has requested rates for other Health Insurance plans from the Union Health Fund.

In addition, the Union Committee has requested that the meetings be held onsite at the store due to scheduling and customer service concerns. The Company so far has refused to meet at the store. The Company has suggested an additional meeting date of 3/28/14 so that we have an opportunity to complete negotiations prior to the expiration of the Agreement. The Committee is willing to meet twice in one week provided that the Company will be reasonable and flexible regarding the location of the meeting.

Our history with Paul Stuart has been one of cooperation and peaceful labor relations. We are hopeful that we can get past these recent events and get to the actual “give and take” of collective bargaining.

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Joint Board Delegates report back from 2012 SEIU Convention

Milagros Penalo stands to report back to the Executive Board after her trip to Denver to attend the SEIU Convention.

Milagros Penalo reports back to the Executive Board.

 

Talking about the critical fight for working people’s rights, several delegates stood and addressed the Executive Board meeting on Wednesday night.  They reported on their experiences at the most recent SEIU convention.

We learned not only is Wells Fargo amassing huge profits, they are refusing to let workers send money home to relatives in Somalia.  Union organizers at Coca Cola are being murdered in Columbia.  That janitors in Houston, Denver and LA had hunger strikes just to win the right to a union. (see links below)

Through all of it, we took home that we are in the fight for our lives together.

We are the 99 percent, whose rights are being stripped away every day for the benefit of the super, super rich. We came home even more committed to standing with our allies, other unions, and each other to we win fair conditions for all of us.

 

Minerva Javier stands up to report back to the Executive Board after her trip to the SEIU Convention in Denver.

Minerva Javier reports back.

Michael McGonagle stands up to report back to the Executive Board after his trip to the SEIU Convention in Denver.

Michael McGonagle reports back.

Bill Osbourne stands up to report back from his trip to the SEIU Convention in Denver.

Bill Osbourne reports back.

 

Venus Smith stands to report back from the SEIU Convention.

Venus Smith reports back.

On Wells Fargo’s refusal to provide services to Somalian families and the solidarity actions organized by Minnesotans for a fair economy see:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/11/social_issue/somali-americans-close-wells-fargo-us-bank-accounts-over-remittances/
http://www.mnfaireconomy.org/2012/05/somali-and-latino-communities-join-with-hundreds-of-allies-in-pledging-to-move-their-money/

On the murder of 2,886 unionists in Colombia since 1986, see:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/10/03/colombia-ensure-justice-anti-union-violence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4vAQ9ri6Ef8#!

On the janitors’ struggle, see:
http://www.seiu.org/a/justice-for-janitors/justice-for-janitors-20-years-of-organizing.php
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9Ze4Yo8Z7rU

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Executive Board Meeting June 13

The next Executive Board meeting for the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board will be held on Wednesday, June 13 at 5:00pm in the Newark office:

18 Washington Place
Newark, NJ 07102

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Executive Board Meeting on April 4

The next Executive Board meeting for the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 5:00pm in the Newark office:

18 Washington Place
Newark, NJ 07102

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Quarterly Executive Board meeting on Feb. 2

The next meeting of the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 5:00pm in the Newark office:

18 Washington Place
Newark, NJ 07102

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