Brothers and sisters:
Meeting notice: The regularly scheduled November meeting has been rescheduled from November 11 to November 18 in honor of Veterans Day. Please note that the November, December 9 and January 13 meetings are mandatory for the nomination, election and installation of officers. Fines will be assessed according to the bylaws of the local for non-attendance.
By the time you read this, our delegates will be on their way back from Orlando and the 30th General Convention of the IUEC. Their job will not be an easy one. With all of the major challenges facing the local and international in the upcoming contract negotiations with NEBA, setting the table to face these challenges is not going to be an easy task for anyone involved. The companies have their agenda and we have ours and while there are many overlaying points of accord, the points of discord are what will determine the course of the next contract.
Will there be a strike or a lockout? The companies tried a lockout in Manhattan a couple of years ago and they failed to break Local 1when pulling in supervisors and tech personnel from around the country to try and man jobs. They even supplied armed body guards for these replacements. The result was they could not keep up with the workload on a little rock like Manhattan, how would they man the jobs across the country in the event of a work stoppage? As one person who was “asked” to go put it – they can’t. Do not be surprised at anything that happens between now and July 2012.
The biggest stick the companies have is the fear factor but how you respond is completely under your control. The best thing you can do is to have a plan that keeps your family’s needs covered for at least six to nine months. Think of it as a personal preparedness plan in case of a disaster.
What are your monthly expenses? Sit down and take a critical look at your finances with an eye toward what is essential and what you can live without. For my family it was items like long distance on the land line, a cell phone, golfing, pleasure drives, premium cable service and going out to eat a couple times a month were things we could sacrifice. Add up items like your mortgage, car and insurance payments. Go on budget billing for your utilities. All these are ways to get a handle on what your minimum expenses are.
Save, save, save. How much do you have saved in your bank account or hiding in a 401K? Can that cover your expenses for a half year? Unemployment will pay $400 to $500 per week in the event of a lockout but nothing in the event of a strike. Be prepared to cover your expenses for an extended period.
Update your plan on a regular basis. Doing this evaluation now will give you a great foundation for possibilities down the road, but it is not the end of the road. Reevaluate your situation at least once a month. Are you expecting a baby? Do you need a new car? What are the tuition payments for college going to be like next year? Life happens and when you plan for changes, plan for the unexpected as well.
Keep informed. This means pay attention to what is going on around you at work and what you hear is going on at the other companies. It is not always wise to take a rumor on face value. It can be disinformation passed on by the companies to illicit a particular reaction or feign a move they have no intention of completing. Be judicious in whose words you put value. Their words might not be worth the paper they are written on. If you hear something that is out of kilter and you want it confirmed, call Tim. More times than not he will be able to tell you if what you hear is bunk or the truth.
The best way to keep informed is to attend the union meetings, especially this coming meeting on September 9th when our delegates will be back from the convention. This will give you the opportunity to hear all the details first hand. As the contract negotiations go on, please check in regularly with the local’s website, iueclocal17.org, for as complete coverage as possible.
These are just a few ideas on how to prepare for the upcoming uncertainty of the next contract. Please keep in mind that how you prepare is a personal decision that needs to be discussed between you and your family. So what if nothing comes to pass and everything is OK? Then celebrate and enjoy the fruits of being in the best trade in the trades.