You Seem Surprised

    You Are the Union! In the 30’s people died to bring the Power of the Unions into existence. Massive physical, and financial abuse by the Companies of the time, motivated people to rise up and demand they be represented by Unions.
     These workers were not interested in getting something for nothing. They simply wanted to be treated fairly in the workplace. They simply wanted to be compensated at a fair rate for the work that they did.
     The corporate abuses of the day were so bad that many workers banded together to create what have become today’s Unions. Unfortunately many of our own Union members have listened to the media lies about our Union’s motivations in the workplace. People have been led to believe that the Unions are simply there to protect the lazy worker. The Unions are there for workers to get “something for nothing”.
     With the gradual weakening of the Unions the Corporations are again rearing their ugly heads. Politically the Corporate “powers that be” continue to attack the existence of the NLRB, (National Labor Relations Board), and also attack worker protections such as Unemployment, Workers Compensation, and OSHA. The continued weakening of these organizations is systematically putting workers at greater risk in their jobs, and causing the wage levels in this country to decrease.
     To their defense, the Corporations, have convinced many of the average Union workers, that they are going to somehow improve the life of that worker when the regulatory agencies are gone. The Corporations didn’t do that before, and they are making it clear that they are not going to do that now.
     Look at your life within Big Brown. Are they treating you better today? Are they more concerned about your safety on the job? Do they act appreciative of your efforts to move, and improve the company?
     Keep in mind that you are all looking at it from within a solid Union company. Can you imagine what it looks like inside the non-union companies?
     The day is here for the working people of this country to step up. A solid workforce cannot be defeated, or ignored. How much abuse will you endure before you will say something. No one is going to do it for you.
     Our Unions have been so successful, that they have created a “lazy, complacent” membership. The facts of today are, our Unions will not survive if we don’t stand up along with them.
     Our next contract negotiation begins in 2013. Prior to that will be International Officer elections, and many Locals will elect their officers also. Many people do not even vote in those elections. They have the complacent attitude that their vote doesn’t mean anything. The fact is they simply are too lazy to educate themselves, and formulate an opinion. It takes a certain amount of effort to formulate an opinion, and many simply find it hard to do.
     Some of the things you can expect to see in the negotiations are listed below. These are the speculations I have come up with based on many different sites, and discussions.

1. Two Tiered wage scales for newly hired drivers. (What that means is that any new driver hired after a certain date will be payed at a lower wage level, and will have a lower maximum wage. What it can do is give the company the incentive to attack, and drive out the older drivers working under the old wage rate.)

2. Forcing drivers to pay all, or a portion of their benefit package. (What this does is effectively reduce the current benefit package, and put a financial hardship on the worker to keep his or her healthcare and pension paid. Many workers will simply opt out for financial reasons, and the costs to the workers still paying will increase. )

3. Wage reductions, and/or raise freezes. (The consequences are obvious. No keeping up with inflation. Increasing company profits at the expense of the worker. Reducing the future ability to stay with the costs of goods and services.)

4. Reduction in Contractual Language to reduce the power of the employee to work within a safe, non-harassing environment. (Basically the company will attempt to take away the workers ability to grieve an unsafe, or an intimidating situation. Basically the company wants a “Like it, or Lump it” contract.)

5. Attacks on seniority. (When all else fails, that is what you have. It is what keeps you on the route you like. It’s what keeps you working ahead of the junior guy. It’s what prevents you from being laid off, when the business drops off. Without seniority the choices are made at the whim of the company.)

6. Pension benefit reductions. (In this day and age, the company controls the pension. Without contractual agreement, the company will be able to do as they please up to and including dissolving the pension. The pension has remained the “light at the end of the tunnel” for so many. As the time passes, it becomes the only hope for life outside of the Company.)

            The obvious conclusion is that you, and your co-workers had better get involved. The Union functions because of you, not in spite of you. Today’ politics make it clear that you are under attack. If you don’t fight back, you will lose what you have.