Maywood Firefighters SEIU Local 73
Welcome another monthly news bulletin, it is my hope this finds everyone doing well and feeling great. May is Mental Health Month and I wished to incorporate a couple of ways we can try to lower workplace stress into this month's edition.
In many conversations I've had around the firehouse in recent weeks, one sentiment has been expressed by many: "Does the collective bargaining process always have to be adversarial?" The answer: "No."
Negotiations are an opportunity to discuss important matters. If we were not members of a collective bargaining unit, benefits and other working conditions could be changed by management or the village at ANY time. Which benefits, you ask?
For starters, how about wages? Do you think employers are in a race to increase an employees living wage? Additionally, those of us who have been been on the department for a few years are well aware that our insurance has been on the chopping block several times. Our insurance plan was not a gift bestowed to us, it was fought hard for, and many other benefits were traded, or sacrificed, to maintain our healthcare plan.
Other terms of our employment have been fought for as well, including vacation days, kelly days, extended sick leave. Everything in our contract was discussed for hours on end and it is our responsibility to ask questions about each point and understand the ramifications if we were to give them up. It is important to note that any changes to terms and conditions of employment have to be NEGOTIATED. It really is that simple, and there should be no hostility or negative feelings about these negotiations.
We, as members of the union, should challenge ourselves to vote for or against proposed changes on the basis of whether or not it will improve our safety, health, salary, or other benefit. This system makes it more likely that an employer will avoid actions that it is not able to justify.
It is also our responsibility to foster an amicable environment at the firehouse; between ourselves AND management. All members of our current administration were fellow union members and, more to the point, fellow firemen. We need to remember that, and I feel it is their responsibility as well. Respect and courtesy given from all parties involved encourage others to offer the same. A change can be sudden and have a cumulative effect.
In closing, grievances are filed when worker rights are violated, and a conversation does not alleviate the disagreement. A grievance is synonymous with an OBJECTION, and not a BRAWL!
F.F. Michael Joseph
1. On behalf of F.F. Rich Weikal.
Details: Violation of unilateral change of the process of approving extended sick leave.
2. On behalf of F.F. Emanuel Coker.
Details: Contract violations.
3. In conjunction with the above grievances.
Details: A demand to bargain letter submitted to management.
4. #############get details on new grievances##########
Union Meeting- T.B.A.
2% Meeting- T.B.A.
Firefighters' Association- T.B.A.
Labor/Management Meeting- May 25
Senior Field Representative:
- F.F. Gene Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To write to our union board: email@example.com
- President- F.F. David Flowers, Jr.
- Vice President- F.F. Dan McDowell
- Secretary- F.F. Kevin Kehoe
- Treasurer- Lt. David Hughes
- F.F. David Flowers, Jr.
- F.F. Nick Cerullo
- F.F. Matt Lantgen
- F.F. Dan Cerullo
To Be Read and Understood!
Last month we took an in depth look at Weigarten Rights. In an ongoing effort to inform ourselves about rights that we receive through the union, let's take a closer look at intimidation in the workplace. May is Mental Health Month, and I think there is a very compelling argument that firehouse stress, normally brushed off, can have far reaching effects. As you will read below, workplace intimidation affects over 50% of workers in the US.
At the 1:1 level, between workers and bosses, the abuse is increasing (source: 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute 3rd national scientific study). Intimidation, a form of bullying, is defined as: "Repeated health-harming mistreatment, abusive conduct, by one or more employees that takes the form of either verbal abuse; threats, humiliation; or sabotage of work. Over 1 in 4 employees reported directly experiencing it. What is equally shocking is that bullying actually increases the stress levels of those whom simply witness it! It is easy to understand if you have been witness to such actions.
Some figures for you: There are 122 million full-time workers in the US. The number of workers affected: 65.4 million! It is an epidemic that jeopardizes employee health, cuts short careers, and makes the firehouse toxic.
If you feel like there is even the slightest chance that you would benefit from talking to someone, which overwhelmingly has been proven to help, below are a few references:
1. village program#####get specifics
2. the guys that came to station#######get specifics
3. suicide hotline####get number #####
4. find some other fireman resource######
5. Talk to any number of your friends!
Additionally, unions can designate and train a team of members to become experts in workplace bullying. The training is called Workplace Bullying University. The WBI director is Dr. Gary Namie, a card-carrying union member of UAW Local 1981.
Thank you for reading- Mike
If you feel a news item has been omitted or overlooked, or if there is an item that was not correctly reported, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ; corrections will appear in next month's bulletin.
Until next issue, BE SAFE- mj