Friday, April 24, 2009

Letter to the Pressrooms

Press Rooms Letter 4-24-09

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

InterLocal Pension Information

GCC/IBT Interlocal Pension Fund Chairman, John Agenbroad
visited on April 17th in Commerce to provide information on the pension fund and answer questions regarding the fund.

This pension is the only 501 C18 in the country. It was founded in 1950 and the fund is overseen by union trustees , NO company trustees. There is in fact absolutely no involvement by the company in any way with regards to the fund, its investments or the administration of the fund.

The Fund's assets were reported in 2007 of the 57th Annual Report of The Trustees to be approximately 1.8 Billion dollars.
John stated the current assets are reported to be 1.4 billion dollars.The administration fees are a mere 4% which is unbelievable for a fund with the assets that are in the ILPF.

Full retirement benefits at age 65. Of course early retirement is possible with the normal percentage of reduced benefits based on years retired prior to 65th birthday and length of participation in the fund.

The fund also contains a Disability Benefit once your account reaches a balance of $1500.00, everyone qualifies regardless of age.

The plan uses a unit based scale, 1 unit equaling $260.00. Once your account reaches a balance of $260.00, you are 100% vested. Monthly contributions are made on an after tax basis and contributions can be deffered when filing your income taxes. All members equally contribute an agreed monthly percentage of their gross monthly income. It also allows you to automatically contribute more when overtime is worked. There is currently a $7000.00 annual limit which the Teamsters are currently lobbying to increase to the same $16,500.00 limit applied to 401k's. We are told this may occur soon which will allow our members to increase their annual retirement investments.

The plan invests in equity funds, domestic and international that are screened through the AFL-CIO to insure there are no labor issues with the countries, companies or businesses that receive our union investments. The Fund will not invest in oppressed countries and never has, nor will it ever invest in hedge funds.

There has been 11 increases in benefits in a thirty year period with only 1 decrease over the same period. How many times have we had our benefits reduced until now that they're completely gone. Companies have abandoned their responsibility to provide retirement dollars to their long term valued employees, its now up to you to take care of your retirement investments.

There is also portability with the fund for up to two years if leaving the company. You may continue to contribute for up to two years at which time you may continue to participate in the fund if you remain in the printing industry, regardless of the new employer or whether employment is under union contract.

These are some of the main highlights of the Interlocal Pension Fund based on Chairman Agenbroad's presentation and questions asked by the members who actually took the time to attend this very important meeting. I was disappointed that Chairman Agenbroad, who also happens to be Mayor of Springboro, Ohio, took time from his busy schedule to come and meet all of you and bring such valuable information for your retirement future and there were an abundance of empty chairs.

With all the bullshit that has resulted as a result of ratifying the contract, the economy and the health of the newspaper industry, the ability to invest in the Interlocal Pension Fund will certainly make up for loss of the inferior retirement vehicles provided by the company.

Literature can be obtained from Keith Denson in Los Angeles or Charlie Laird in Orange County.
The literature they possess are the Summary Plan Description and Trustee Indenture, The 57th Annual Report of the Trustees, an informative fund overview pamphlet and the Table of Benefits based on number of units.

I challenge everyone to take these documents to their financial consultants and/or tax preparers for their professional opinion of the information contained therein and whether they believe there is a comparable plan that you can invest in. I hope at least some of you accept this challenge and report your findings to Keith or myself to publish here. Don't you think you should at least investigate this plan and whether or not you can better invest your retirement savings elsewhere?

Chairman Agenbroad is willing to return and answer your questions and provide answers if any of you are interested and aren't too busy to be concerned about your retirement because you're all so freaking young. I will only ask him to return if commitments to attend are received.

We need to vote on participating in this fund so I suggest everyone get the necessary information literature from Keith, Charlie or myself and at least take advantage of one of the benefits of organizing that mangement can't screw with. Take responsibility for the future.

For more information visit the ILPF website at http://www.ilpfgciu.org/ or e-mail info@ilpfgciu.org
For immediate answers, or literature, call (630) 752-8400

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rumor Control

I have been asked to respond to some of the current rumors floating around in the shops. The first thing I want to say is, I am only doing this because I was asked to and not because I need to defend myself from the same rumor mongers that have perpetuated the lies against me time and time again.

First fact is, I have not been hired by the Teamsters nor have I been offered a job by them.
If I had a buck for every time that was said or assumed, I could have retired long ago.

Second fact, I am NOT drawing a salary from Local 140-N nor the Teamsters. I am still on disability as a result of the shoulder injury I suffered in November 2008. I know there were some of you that thought I was milking it on light duty while working in the office. A recent MRI revealed a tear in my rotator cuff and I will be undergoing surgery soon to repair my shoulder. We all know who takes advantage of light duty, and I was not one of them. Don't forget I returned to the press in less than 7 months after a full knee replacement. I doubt my critics would have returned as quickly.

The Constitution does allow for officers to receive a salary, but as I stated to the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, It makes no sense for me to accept a salary from our Local when on disability because my disability benefits would be reduced by the same amount. So, I am forgoing any salary the Constitution authorizes me to receive at this time. For the record, a salary has not even been established by the Executive Board. None of the officers are receiving a salary at this time as all of our resources are committed to Attorney expenses attempting to resolve our conflicts with management. None of the shop stewards or officers are having their dues paid by the Local at this time either.

Next, there is nothing in the constitution that states I or any of the officers will receive a car. The Local does not require it's officers to need a business vehicle. We on the E-Board have agreed that our own vehicles will suffice. There are provisions for fuel and/or mileage reimbursement for officers travels in the course of their duties.

The Constitution does provides for a "per diem" of $100.00 dollars a day for Officer's meals and beverages when attending International Conferences representing the members of Local 140-N. Any unused portion will be returned to the Local's Secretary Treasurer.

I hope this puts to rest the B.S. that has been floating around lately because it only serves to divide our members. My reputation and integrity are just as important to me today as it was my last day I set foot on the pressroom floor.

Any questions regarding the Constitution and Bylaws can be answered by the committee members and they are Chairman, Keith Denson, Mark Austin, Denise Kolm, Gary Bunch and Dan Beruman.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

De-Authorization Petition Blocked

On Friday April 10, 2009 GCC/IBT Local 140-N received a notice from the N.L.R.B. that Orange County Operator, Lee Carey filed a Petition for a de-authorization election. The purpose of de-authorization is to have the union security and dues check-off language stripped from the contract. The remainder of the contract remains in force.

Although Carey, Saterlee and Espinosa have the right, their motives are again questionable at best.

Our Attorney informed our Local that our pending board charges serve to block the attempt to have the Board grant an election at this time. We have also informed the board that we are challenging the petition and charge that the solicitation of signatures was tainted. This will prevent the petition from being considered at a later time when current charges are addressed by the board.

More on this subject as it progresses.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Unemployment Contact Information and More

Several calls were received inquiring about Union contact information for Unemployment applications. Our Secretary Treasurer Linard Williams asked that we use the following address and phone number :

GCC/IBT Local 140-N
Secretary Treasurer
Linard Williams
25852 McDean Parkway Unit 312
Valencia, Ca. 91355

Phone: (818) 370-7051

For those currently employed, this address should also be used for sending Beck Objections for Agency Fee Payer dues as described in an earlier post and mailing. This is a requirement under the International Constitution and must be completed in writing in order to pay reduced monthly dues.

Also, the names and dues check-off applications of approximately 16-19 individuals were given to management, (Russ) on two separate occasions, which he claims to have not received. Linard hand delivered the forms and dues deductions will begin on the next deduction cycle.

Anyone having not submitted an authorization form can send any dues that are in arrears to the address above in the amount of $60.00 for the months of February and March. Dues are deducted on the second pay period of each month, so April's dues are due soon and can be included also. A letter informing those who have chosen to ignore their dues obligation will be notified and given an opportunity to bring their dues current. The Local will after that time begin to persue legal action to recover the delinqent amount owed to the Local and that future dues are to be received by the Secretary Treasurer when due.

Dues refunds are expected to be sent to any of the 63 employees laid off that were having dues automatically deducted prior to being disgracefully shown the door. Use the number above to contact Linard to see if your dues refund is on it's way.
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