Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ego VS The Law

Most of you should have received our recent mailing highlighting our current status. I personally reviewed all current mailing information provided by the company and revised our database, so if anyone fails to receive it, it is because they do not have current information on file with the company or the union.

We do have confirmed negotiation dates beginning in November and are prepared to negotiate in good faith for our members. The committee members are aware of the contract draft contents and can dispell any rumors that may surface regarding it's contents. As stated in the letter, this can take some time, so patience and solidarity are priority number one.

Our major concern at this time is Johnny Walkers treatment of pressroom employees in Los Angeles. One of our main concerns, and probably the most serious is that it appears our African American Community in the pressroom are predominantly in his crosshairs and have been subjected to his disrepectful treatment and diciplinary targeting. This is a very disturbing fact and this fact will be further investigated by our attorneys. I am attempting to schedule a meeting with some of our members and The NAACP to get their impression of these obvious statistics and solicit their support in bringing this to managements attention.

Everyone should be conscious of the threat Walker poses and remain diligent by doing everything by the book, remain in control and follow orders. It's obvious that you are all being baited into becoming insubordinate. Any reason to write you up, deny you a raise and ultimately termination, as we have just witnessed. Buy-outs cost money, terminations don't. They are looking for safety violations, so as I said, be diligent, take a safe, load with a partner and always be aware of who is in your immediate area. Watch out for one another, do not run to the office to report a fellow pressperson. We have all been under different levels of pressure in the shop, but there is no reason to hold eachother accountable when we all know that it was none of us who made the decisions that have brought us to the point our pressroom in L.A is today. All of the calls I have received complaining about being treated in an insulting, disrepectful manner and unfairly disiplined, have only come from Los Angeles pressroom members.

I have spoke to Russ Newton about these concerns and the numerous calls I have received about Walkers treatment towards pressroom employees and he said that he has not been informed by anyone about their specific issues concerning Walker. I did mention that none of us have felt that we can go to Management and/or Human Resources and receive a fair and impartial resolution for a long, long time, not to mention the fear of retaliation. Russ went on to say that he encourages pressroom employees to speak to him personally and he will investigate any concerns we present to him. He also went on to say that any retaliation against an employee who seeks his assistance will not be tolerated and the retaliator would be terminated.

So I encourage all of you who have been subjected to Walker's alledged intimidation, harassment and disrepectful treatment to accept Russ' invitation and provide him with the information he needs to do his part to return the L.A. pressroom to a hostile free enviroment. Our company handbook says that the company promises to provide us with a work environment free of discrimination, harassment and hostility, so it's up to all of you in L.A. to provide Russ with proof of mistreatment, so visit Russ soon and be sure to provide him with all the facts, including witnesses and we will provide the same to our attorneys in an effort to resolve our members concerns as quickly as possible.

I most recently was informed by two seperate individuals on Sunday and Monday nights in which their respective crews were forced to work through their lunch and were not given the option to go eat or accept compensation for working through their lunch. This is in violation of State Labor Laws requiring employers to allow employees a lunch period of 1/2 hour within 5 hours of the start of their shift. These violations have been brought to our attorney's attention as well and proper actions will be taken in this matter. Operator Keith Denson informed me that on Monday night he notified Supervisor Tony Specht of his desire to take lunch and that it is against the law to force him to work through his lunch which was met with Tony's arrogant response "be sure to spell my name right". Was that necessary? We will be sure to spell it right as he requested when we notify the State of this violation.

Why does pressroom supervision think that they have a right to be disprepectful when addressing pressroom employees in Los Angeles? Why do they so easily forget where they came from and how upset they were when they felt supervision was disrepectful towards them. How easily they forget. Alot of you were never living up to the expectations you place on us now!

It is totally obvious that Los Angeles is being punished for the fact that we now have Union Representation and Walker has no desire to give up any control over the pressroom when the fact of the matter is, he is completely out of control and is a danger to a diverse work force such as ours. Discrimination, harassment and hostility contradict all the values inscribed on the sign at the entrance of the Olympic plant entrance. Walker and Specht should stop and read it some time.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Where are we now?

Sorry for the absence but alot has been going on lately, most of which I am unable to post here due to management's regular visits to our site. I can tell you that the negotiation committee met on Sunday and we are closer to completing our contract proposals.

We do have confirmed and agreed dates to begin negotiations and they are November 1st, 14th and 27th. Those dates were proposed by management's Lead Counsel and we accepted them in good faith to get the process moving. We have requested dates in blocks as opposed to single days in attempts to expedite the negotiations.

I have also been receiving numerous complaints from bargaining unit employees in Los Angeles about how they are being treated by management. I have heard that supervisors and management themselves are saying that we don't have a contract and that the union can't do anything for us. They are about to find out how wrong they are once again.

We have to remember why we voted for representation, and that is a CONTRACT!
Stay United and look out for eachother.

There is no plausible reason for the way our fellow brothers and sisters are being treated other than Johnny Walker's obsession to control literally everything and everyone in the pressroom. What ever happened to all the values management used to speak of?
Did someone forget to tell Johnny what they are? Napoleon Syndrome at it's finest. Now you all know why the results of their survey last year have never been addressed, because they were very unfavorable towards management. Respect your workers and stop making the pressroom a HOSTILE environment. It didn't work in San Diego and it won't be tolerated here any longer. Fear, intimidation, threats and hostility toward your subordinates are not leadership values to be respected.
(revised) Negotiation date correction. The date 0f the 4 was a typo missing the (1) and is actually the 14th. My apologies.

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Hope you all enjoy Labor day.

(Revised on 9/6/07 to add the following message)

A Labor Day Message from General President James P. Hoffa
August 31, 2007

This Monday, we pay tribute to the millions of hardworking men and women who make our world better and keep our country vital. The recognition is well-deserved, although a single day hardly seems adequate to address the contributions of workers and the generations who preceded them.
As we approach Labor Day, the American labor movement is reinvigorated and working for profoundly important things: the continued existence of the middle class and our national safety. I’m proud that the 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union are at the forefront of this effort.
Our most immediate struggle is taking place now, as we face an immediate threat to our country’s well-being, courtesy of big business and the very person who should be protecting our safety. Despite overwhelming bipartisan congressional opposition and in defiance of public opinion, President Bush and his administration are trying to sidestep safety regulations in his ill-planned effort to open our highways to Mexican trucks. Of all weekends to recklessly open our highways to dangerous trucks, the president chose one of the busiest of the year — what a slap in the face to all Americans!

Safety is one of the key reasons — along with wages and benefits, and retirement security — that thousands of school bus drivers, logistics workers, airline workers, public service employees and sanitation workers have voted to become Teamsters Union members in the past year. As we have focused our organizing efforts on key industries, such as transportation, logistics and public services, more and more workers are able to secure fair compensation for them and their families, as well as improved treatment and safer conditions at work.
But we can and must do more.

I urge you to support political plans that are in the best interests of all Americans. You can make a difference by meeting workers in organizing drives; attending rallies; urging politicians to support issues such as fair trade and universal health care; voting for pro-labor candidates; and by becoming a member of DRIVE, our powerful political action committee.
While some politicians seem to think that handing hot dogs to workers and making a nice speech at a picnic will take care of labor issues for another year, we must remind them why Labor Day was established 113 years ago to ensure that the knowledge of labor’s great contributions to society lives on.

This is one reason we have joined with the Netroots, to raise our issues and public awareness for labor among a new generation of online activists and workers. Join the discussions, the online blogging communities in your states and hometowns and talk about your union. Be proud of the century-old Teamster legacy, and tell others what it means to be in a union — solidarity, democracy, respect. Because if we don't educate the public, no one will.
We must maintain respect for those willing to work with their hands, put in an honest day’s work and take pride in a craft or a job well done. It has always been laborers who were the first to stand up against injustice. Doing so, too many workers lost their lives to gain the rights and benefits that enable workers to support themselves and their families today.
On this Labor Day, I ask you for your continued support and involvement as we build support for working Americans.
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