Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all members who have been away for the summer back to campus, and thank everyone for all your efforts this summer. I would also like to thank everyone for a job well done this past weekend while many were enjoying the Holiday weekend many of you were working long days ensuring the smooth arrival of nearly 5,000 students to our campus. It is events such as “move in weekend” the campus has an opportunity to see Local 528 in action and once again we delivered! Thank you!
Over the past year we have worked together, made tough decisions, and tackled some serious challenges. We have done this by remaining united, remaining committed to our work, learning from past experiences, and most of all looking out for each other.
This past Spring we successfully negotiated, discussed, explained and subsequently ratified a 4 year contract providing for a 6% wage increase over 18 months and also protecting our health insurance benefits keeping in tact the superior plan we fought do hard to earn. With this recent contract our language and our jobs are protected through 2017.
In 2014 Leadership has continued our efforts to prioritize communication. Over the summer months with the help of Brother Don Lapp we have continued to upgrade our ability to share information via the Local 528 website http://web.uri.edu/local528/. The website is a great tool to communicate important information throughout our Union. If you have not had a chance I urge you to check it out. Several years ago we began an effort to add to our ability to get info out through email starting from 0 I am proud there are currently approximately 200 members signed up to receive email updates and other important information. Building off the idea of instant communication last summer we began the challenge of developing a “protest team” a group of active members who when called upon step up, and show up in defense of our Brothers and Sisters. Through text messaging, alerts can now be sent to the nearly 125 members of Local 528 who have volunteered notifying them of job actions, picket lines, protests, rallies, etc…. in the area. While still a work in progress this too has already proven to be a great asset in our efforts to protect our jobs. When our Brothers and Sisters jobs in North Providence were in jeopardy we showed up and we won! When a certain Treasurer showed up on the edge of campus we showed up and sent a strong message! When candidates who respect workers need our support we show up and the “protest team” has helped grow our volunteer base. If you would like to join please contact the Union office or send a quick email to email@example.com.
Over the past several years we have built off the custodial “pilot program” and we can now proudly boast cleaning responsibilities for every building on campus successfully expelling cleaning contractors from our campus has allowed us to add jobs to Local 528 and increase our foot print on campus. From Hillside dormitory to Fascitelli Fitness Center, from CBLS to the College of Pharmacy the members of our Union are rising to the challenge and at the same time helping to ensure our long term job security. As we speak the campus is continuing on with growth and so to is our Union.
Protecting our jobs has not been limited to cleaning over the last several years we have spearheaded successful efforts to expel contract tree cutters and replace them with 4 Arborists [members of Local 528] this effort has served to provide growth for our Union and simultaneously add to job opportunities for members of Local 528.
Similarly our Union has engaged in constructive conversations in regards to utilizing our highly skilled membership in place of over priced contracted services. Currently at both WAJ and GSO members of Local 528 have been provided with additional OT opportunities providing repair & maintenance work at these satellite campus’s once again further protecting Local 528 from the dangers of over reliance on contracted services. Together we have begun this effort and I look forward to growing this effort to included areas where this “over utilization” continues.
The 2012 pension reform act THE FIGHT CONTINUES! As you know our Union entered into litigation challenging the 2012 theft of our pensions. Since the filing in Superior Court approximately 2 years ago we were ordered into mediation. The settlement which came out of nearly 12 months of mediation was not accepted which brings us to today. An original trial date of September 15th 2014 has been vacated by Judge Taft-Carter. The Court delayed the trial until January. I look forward to discussing this issue further at our upcoming meetings. I would also like to highlight a very important fact one which I am very proud of! Over the last decade there have been a number of attacks on our retirement security each and every time the GA has taken these actions our Union Local 528, RI Council 94, AFSCME has filed suit challenging the legality of each respective change. In short it makes me proud to be a member of a Union that does not just “talk the talk” in response to attacks on members but instead uses every tool available to protect the hard working members of Local 528! There is no doubt a long road ahead of us in this fight for retirement security however if we continue to stand together in solidarity I am hopeful we can obtain some satisfaction through the court system.
The overwhelming theme of solidarity, looking out for each other, and rising to meet challenges rings as true today as it did a decade ago, 3 decades ago, and as it did at the very beginning of the Labor Movement. By continuing to operate under these basic ideals we have (TOGETHER) protected our jobs, and in fact grown our Union in the face of extremely challenging circumstances. I am forever proud to be a member of Local 528 and with your help look forward to using lessons of the past to come up with creative ways to protect our jobs and protect each other.
Several Upcoming Dates To Keep In Mind
9/9/2014- Primary Election
Very important! please take the time to vote our lively hood is directly affected by the Governor’s Office and it vital our voices are heard at the polls! For info on where and how to vote please contact the Union Office or visit the Secretary of State’s Office web page http://sos.ri.gov/
9/9/2014- First membership meeting of the academic year
11:30AM MU Ballroom (serving lunch) “thank you Dining Services Catering” This meeting will also serve as nomination meeting for elected officers. From September through May meetings will take place on the 2nd Tuesday of the month @11:30AM MU Ballroom unless otherwise noted. I hope to see you there!
9/30/2014- Local 528 Scholarship application deadline
Apps available at the Union office, membership meeting 9/9, Local 528 website, or through stewards
10/5/2014- Deadline to register to vote in general election
10/14/2014- Membership meeting 11:30AM MU Ballroom