Archive | March 2011

New Contract Ratified

Today the Frontier Unit of IBEW 503 held its contract ratification meeting.  Our members voiced very real concerns about the economic and business times we live in and about how these issues were addressed in the contract proposal.  It is clear our members understand these issues very well.

Ultimately our contract vote was held and the new contract was ratified by a 4 to 1 margin.  The bargaining committee, business manager and business agent of Local 503 Unit 1 wish to thank the membership for this vote of confidence in the work we did.  While being far from a perfect contract, we believe we presented the best contract available under the current market conditions and it appears clear that our members felt it was a pact they would use to chart their next few years in our industry.

The contract features job security language that did not exist before this agreement.  Our benefit and wage packages compare very favorably with those negotiated recently by Frontier local unions.  The reality of medical cost shifting continues to plague our members as it does all who collectively bargain for fair and just compensation in this environment.  It is gratifying that our members recognize these realities.  The officers of Local 503 look forward to moving forward and helping our members protect the rights they have secured for the next three years.

Again, the officers and bargaining team wish to relay our sincerest thanks to our membership for their loyalty and support throughout this difficult process.

While the meeting was the opportunity for members to cast their contract ratification votes, it also gave your officers the opportunity to express their unqualified support to our members affected by the recent layoff announcement.  Now that seeking a contract is behind us, all of our members can be assured that this situation remains the number one priority of this local.  It is our belief that the contributions of these members have been consistently valuable over the years and all of these people deserve the opportunity to continue to make such contributions.

We wish to assure everyone that we will pursue this matter with the urgency it deserves.

Again, sincere thanks to all of our members and supporters for everything throughout this process.        


Contract distribution and vote news (3/15/2011)

Around midday Tuesday we finished the process of finalizing the proposed contract language.  We began handing out the contract negotiation packets Tuesday afternoon.  We will distribute the remainder Wednesday morning.
Our contract vote will take place at the Monroe Woodbury Middle School in the cafeteria on Thursday 3/17.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 SHARP. 

It is probably not necessary to tell my fellow members about the state of the economy as well as the struggles our industry faces.  These negotiations took place in that environment.  I assure you that fact was not lost on either side in these negotiations.  While the bargaining sessions were professional, friendly and courteous on both sides, there were times when, as a reflection of their times, they were contentious.
There are clear gains for our members in the proposed contract.  We have added job security language that previously did not exist.  The wage and benefit portions of the contract compare favorably with what other bargaining units have faced in their negotiations.  Your bargaining team believes that we have reached a proposed contract has achieved as much as was reasonable to achieve in the current environment.  It is for this reason that the bargaining committee recommends that our members vote “yes” on the contract.
We look forward to discussing this with you.   

Contract update: 3/14/2011

As previously mentioned: negotiations are over; we have a contract extension in effect until 3/18.

Your bargaining team spent today proof reading the final bargaining agreement reached with the company last week.  This involves making sure all contract language clearly represents the intent of both parties before presenting the package to our membership for a vote.  As of now we are awaiting clarification of a couple of points.  Our current schedule for the remainder of this week is as follows:

·         Tentatively, we expect to distribute the negotiated package to our members on Wednesday.

·         We are scheduled to vote on the new contract at the Union meeting on Thursday at 5:30PM.

I wish to thank all of our members for their patience and support throughout this process, and for their continued support.  This process was always destined to be in your hands and in a few days it will be so.  We look forward to the upcoming discussions with the membership.

I think I can speak for all of the officials of your local as I express a debt of gratitude to members Lisa Ebaugh and Greg Flower.  Neither of these members is an official of the Union and yet both agreed to become members of the negotiating committee.  The negotiating process can be grueling, frustrating and rewarding; often, all at the same time.  Bargaining sessions routinely went well into the evening.  They did this while receiving the minimum compensation for their titles.  Their frank viewpoints and contextual inputs were invaluable to these negotiations.  They very effectively represented their fellow members.  Again, our thanks to both of them.  And to all of you, too.

-John Schreiner

Contract Report: 3-9-2011

This afternoon we received the Company’s final contract offer.  Formal negotiations are over. 
At this time, until we are able to proof read and verify this document, your committee will withhold comment on this package.

Negotiation Update: March 8, 2011

We had our second negotiating session of this week today.

So for a second, look at this whole thing as a sporting event.  It’s not like football, where you have a clock determining when the end of the game is.  It’s more like baseball: you get to the ninth inning whenever you do, and that’s the end.  Problem with this event is: you never know exactly what inning it is.

We made significant progress on a number of fronts today.  Enough so that you might think we are near the end.  Maybe we are.

But, …………(there’s always a “but”)

What’s left are the broader issues.  The issues that affect every one of you.  The parts of this that your family notices.  For many of you, these few issues determine the success or failure of the process.  In short: the money.

So think about what you need.  What you want.  What you can live with.  We are.  Very much.

We may have some answers shortly.

Hold Fast.



Negotiation Update 3-7-2011

Well, we’re back at negotiations.  I guess things must be getting serious because they’re starting to move………….very slowly.

There’s nothing we have covered that’s unimportant and we have covered a lot of issues.  But, as might be expected, what’s left is the trickiest stuff of all.  We are still far from resolution on the major financial questions.  This includes the proposed benefits packages.
The company has taken a hard negotiating stance on much of what you may take for granted on a day to day basis and movement on these points is not promising in the short term.  Our mission here is to bring you a contract you and your family can live with; that you can afford to live with.  That is still obviously priority one.  It is also our current challenge.  The company announcing to a group of employees that it did not expect a resolution in this set of negotiation sessions was not helpful.
We are doing our best to be your eyes, ears and voice at the table.  We will continue to do just that.  Thank you for your support, and Hold Fast!

Solidarity Rally in support of Workers Rights

Mar. 3 2011
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Teamsters Local 445 15 Stone Castle Road Rock Tavern, NY


The New York State AFL-CIO and its 2.5 million working men and women stand in solidarity with teachers, firefighters, nurses, construction workers and many others under attack by governors and state legislators.

What’s going on in Wisconsin is not an isolated event. Attacks on workers’ basic rights is sweeping the country, and we will stand together to make sure our voices are heard! Please join us at this upcoming Hudson Valley solidarity event.