February ’15 Labor Citizen

By the time you read this, the apprentices will be hard at work on the spring semester. Just a reminder that you can only miss two classes a semester. Do not forget to turn in your JATC sheets to Business Manager Tim Moennich or your instructor to log your hours

On the continuing education front, the local has a approximately 35 members involved in the welding, hydraulic controller troubleshooting and scaffolding classes. The welding class ran the weeks of January 12th and 19th at the world headquarters of Lincoln Electric in Euclid. The class gave participants the opportunity to earn a 3G or 4G welding certificate. The hydraulic controller theory and troubleshooting class is the same one the apprentices use in year three and, without a doubt, the most valuable class a new or experienced mechanic can master. The third class is the scaffolding class which certifies the recipient to erect scaffolding. If you took this the last time it was offered, chances are your card is lapsed and this class must be taken to be rectified in scaffold erecting.

As Tim reminds us every month, “the more you know, the more valuable you are.” There are many more options available on the NEIEP website at neiep.org. Our hours pay for this education, take advantage of it.

On the international labor front, Otis workers in Australia were locked out in October 21st after the $62 billion elevator industry giant offered a below inflation one percent wage increase. The 174 Otis Australia workers attempted to negotiate a new contract since April and in September began industrial action with bans on overtime, shift work and starting new projects. The company also attempted to pit construction workers against maintenance workers to no avail.

In response, the company began a lockout which lasted eight weeks. During the lockout, Otis workers in New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Ireland took part in an international day of solidarity that played a significant role in Otis management agreeing to a new contract. The workers received a 14 percent pay raise and an increase in travel expenses. They wanted double time for all overtime but, did not get that in the final agreement.

We are stronger standing together than we are kneeling alone.

In the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund TEAM class last month, Brothers Jimmy Dimmel and Joe Rapine talked about the efforts the IUEC has been making with organized labor overseas and how that played into the Big Four settling the lockout in New York City a few years back.

Another point was that the negotiating team for the IUEC is selected from the rank and file delegates at the International Convention every five years. Many who believe that this gives the company negotiators an upper hand at the table only have to look at the gains we have made over the course of the last three contracts. This highlights the fact that the elevator constructors are not only the best trade in the trades but the best negotiators in the trades.

The members of the IUEC are definitely NOT your stereotypical union workers.

I would like to thank all the members of the trades that have been engaging the employees of the non-signatory companies they have encountered over the course of the last year and a half. The positive image you are providing goes a long way to changing the prevailing image of union non-union relations and is changing the way we are viewed by those we wish to bring into the fold. Please keep speaking the truth about the trades and keep in mind that no one wants to be a part of a club where they feel unwelcome.

As of this writing there are 13 mechanics and two apprentices on the bench.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
DKnapik@windstream.net