Executive Officer's Forum - Time to take action
Bob Alvarado, Executive Officer
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"This union belongs to its members, and the more members get involved, the
stronger we'll be."
The big news this month is the contract extension and the closing of the "window period" when employers can give notice that they wish to renegotiate or perhaps cancel their agreement. We were in very good position before this opening even started: Employers who paid 92 percent of the hours worked during the last agreement had already signed the extension.
During the window period, we received cancellation notices from employers who reported less than 1 percent of the total hours reported during the last agreement. Despite the down economy, we are still in very good shape. There are a couple of significant cancellations we have to be concerned about. Some require talk, others will require action. For those that require action, we will need help from the membership – at the jobsite and on the picket lines, if it comes to that.
Speaking of help from the members, I want to thank everyone who has showed up so far for the Carpenters In Action (CIA) meetings I've been attending around the Council. They have been going very well, and I'm encouraged by the number of members who want to get involved. Some have attended a lot of union meetings, some have already been involved with the CIA, but many members said it was their first time. More importantly, many members said they'll be back for more!
THE CIA: EMPOWERING UNION MEMBERS
The idea behind the CIA is to empower union members, and to reinforce that your union belongs to you. With training and support through CIA classes, rank-and-file members are the ones who speak to elected officials, who get involved in organizing, and who take part in actions to protect our work or support creating jobs.
I've said before that one of the main reasons I ran for this office was to ensure that the members kept the right to vote on the contract they work under. We set this Council up so that rank-and-file delegates will always outnumber staff. We put working members on the Council's Executive Committee. Most importantly, we put working members on the Negotiating Committee. I believe we are the only Council in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters that has rank-and-file members sit at the table and negotiate the agreement.
Carpenters in Action is another step in this direction of making this a member-driven union. It's pretty simple, really. This union belongs to its members, and the more members get involved, the stronger we'll be. I urge you to get involved, and be part of this movement.
This past month also saw several significant retirements. I want to give thanks to dedicated brothers Cal Watterson, Pat Dennis, Fred Wright and John Bullock for their years of service to this brotherhood. They each contributed many years to making this union stronger and better, and I wish them all a long, healthy and happy retirement. I also want to congratulate Brother Augie Beltran, our new Central District Manager.
Finally, it is time to vote. Last month, I wrote about Carpenter Politics: we focus on issues that affect us all as union carpenters, like prevailing wages and job creation. There are many factors that go into your decision about how to cast your vote, but if you base those decisions at least in part on how it impacts your job, listen to what we have to say. Whatever you decide, please vote!