January ’12 Constructor Article

Brothers and sisters:

I hope that everyone reading this had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year filled with all the joy of the season.

Starting January 1, there will be a $1.15 increase in the mechanics pay scale.  Each classification will receive an increase at their percentage of mechanics rate.

There was a very important mailing about a potential identity theft issue involving the Benefits office and Value Options, the network provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment.  According to the letter sent out to every participant, a computer tape containing personal information was lost in transit from Value Options back to the Plan office.  The information was provided to Value Options in order to qualify participants when they sought services.  Since neither the Plan office, Value Options or the carrier used for the shipment have located the tape, they arranged for identity theft protection through Debix for all plan participants at no cost for one year.  This includes members and their covered dependents.

Identity theft is nothing to be taken lightly.  If you have received the letter and not acted on it, I implore you to contact the Benefits office and take advantage of this opportunity to protect yourself and your dependents.  A link to the Benefits office is available through iueclocal17.org under the Union Links button.

I would like everyone reading this to take a few minute and go the Local 17 web site, iueclocal17.org, and read the local’s article for the December issue of the Cleveland Citizen.  It highlights the efforts of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a Columbus-based “non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse” and their efforts to turn Ohio into the 23rd right-to-work-for-less state.

This is the same group that fronted state Issue 3, the amendment to the Ohio Constitution opting out the Health Care Reform Act passed by the previous Congress.  The amendment passed by a 66 percent to 34 percent margin.

As you might guess, I have a multitude of thoughts on this subject and I will be bringing them to you as the campaign to defeat this next attack on unionism rolls forward.  I’ll repeat here one of the highlights of the Citizen article:

“Being a union member does not guarantee success and it does not shelter failure.

Being a union member, being productive at your job, and having the opportunity to make a better life through better wages, benefits and working conditions is something worth fighting for.  Now is the time to clean your guns, stock up on ammo and be prepared.  The conservatives are coming.”

Where are they working?

John Goggin and Joe Sumph replacing step chains at One Cleveland Center for Schindler,

Keith Poscocil and Ken Eaton installing a three-stop traction at Lorain Community College for Kone,

Jeff Lindell and Ken Jung installing escalators at the Art Museum for Kone,

Mike Miller, Greg Seaman, Gerard Szemerkovsky and Tony Karovich installing two tractions and two hydros at Marymount Hospital for Otis,

Dave Brunner, John Brunner, Mark Byram, Dave Lehotan, Chris Wyatt and Brian Owens installing escalators at the Casino for Schindler,

DJ Springs and Joe Simcic starting the Eaton job for Otis,

Matt Pinchot and Scott Villanueva at the Cleveland Clinic Parking Garage doing a two-car mod for Otis,

Scott Hicks and Jim Rogers installing an elevator at the Casino for Schindler,

Local 17 would like to extend its congratulations to Brother Ryan Foley and his wife on the birth of their baby girl.  A large welcome home goes to the brother of Jeff Ford and stepson of honored retiree Bob Pudimat, Captain Joe Ford, on his return from Iraq.

As of this writing there are 18 mechanics and one apprentice out of work.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don

Dknapik@windstream.net