Hurricane Harvey devastates Texas
The devastation that has been caused by Hurricane Harvey is hard to imagine. We want to take a minute to send out our thoughts and prayers to our Brothers and Sisters in Texas. We sincerely hope that they and their families are safe. We urge you all to take a moment to donate some money to the relief efforts if you can.
During our search for some thoughtful words to say about Labor Day we came across an article that we felt did a great job of conveying our sentiments about a day we feel has really started to lose its meaning for a lot of folks. We have decided to reprint the article in its entirety. It was first published in The Atlantic on September 1st, 2014 and was written by Chad Broughton:
When Labor Day Meant Something
Labor Day online specials at Walmart this year “celebrate hard work with big savings.” For brick-and-mortar shoppers near my home in Chicago, several Walmart stores are open all 24 hours of Labor Day. Remember, this is a company so famously anti-union that it shut down a Canadian store rather than countenance the union its workers had just voted in. The fact that Walmart “celebrates” Labor Day should draw laughter, derision, or at least a few eyerolls. But it doesn’t—or at least not many. Somewhere along the line, Labor Day lost its meaning. Today the holiday stands for little more than the end of summer and the start of school, weekend-long sales, and maybe a barbecue or parade. It is no longer political. Many politicians and commentators do their best to avoid any mention of organized labor when observing the holiday, maybe giving an obligatory nod to that abstract entity, “the American Worker.” Labor Day, though, was meant to honor not just the individual worker, but what workers accomplish together through activism and organizing. Indeed, Labor Day in the 1880s, its first decade, was in many cities more like a general strike—often with the waving red flag of socialism and radical speakers critiquing capitalism—than a leisurely day off. So to really talk about this holiday, we have to talk about those-which-must-not-be-named: unions and the labor movement. The labor movement fought for fair wages and to improve working conditions, as is well known, but it was its political efforts that did nothing less than transform American society. Organized labor was critical in the fight against child labor and for the eight-hour workday and the New Deal, which gave us Social Security and unemployment insurance. Union workers sacrificed in America’s historic production effort in World War II and pushed for Great Society legislation in the 1960s. Michael Patrick, a former local Machinists president from Galesburg, Illinois, where I’ve done research, cites his union’s support for Medicare and the Civil Rights Act, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, as among his local’s proudest moments. These were victories that went well beyond the bread-and-butter issues of union members. They were shared achievements worthy of a national holiday for all. As Samuel Gompers, the founder of the American Federation of Labor, wrote in the New York Times in 1910, Labor Day “glorifies no armed conflicts or battles of man’s prowess over man… no martial glory or warlike pomp signals Labor Day.” Rather, “Of all the days celebrated for one cause or another, there is not one which stands so conspicuously for social advancement of the common people as the first Monday in September.” Those shared victories came at a cost. Agitation for anti-trust legislation, shorter workdays and workweeks, and the right to organize was often portrayed as un- American and violently repressed. In 1914, John Kirby, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, called the trade union movement, “an un-American, illegal, and infamous conspiracy.” Anti-labor employers fought against what they saw as incipient communism with strikebreaking, blacklisting, vigilante violence, and by enlisting government force to their side. During the Red Scare of 1919-1921, many states passed blanket sedition laws against radical speech and banned the flying of the red flag. The fiery but pragmatic president of the United Mine Workers, John L. Lewis, spoke to the overwhelming patriotism of union men and women when he said to a Senate Committee in 1933, “American labor stand[s] between the rapacity of the robber barons of industry of America and the lustful rage of the communists, who would lay waste to our traditions and our institutions with fire and sword.” Labor Day began not as a national holiday but in the streets, when, on September 5, 1882, thousands of bricklayers, printers, blacksmiths, railroad men, cigar makers, and others took a day off and marched in New York City. “Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for What We Will” read one sign. “Labor creates all wealth,” read another. A placard in the following year’s parade read, “We must Crush the Monopolies Lest they Crush Us.” The movement for the holiday grew city by city and eventually the state and federal authorities made it official. The national holiday emerged 12 years later in the face of a federal crackdown on labor. In 1894, at the behest of railroad companies and industrialists, President Grover Cleveland deployed more than 10,000 U.S. Army troops to break the Pullman strike in Chicago—the first truly nationwide strike, which involved more than 150,000 workers from coast to coast. Protesters were jailed, injured, and killed. Amid the turmoil that summer, and as an olive branch, Cleveland signed legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday. Eugene Debs, the leader of the Pullman strike, dismissed the corporate paternalism of industrialist George Pullman, who sought to take care of “our poor workingmen.” The real issue, Debs said, was “What can we do for ourselves?” This—the labor movement's foundational values of selfdetermination and self-reliance—is what makes Labor Day a quintessentially American celebration. Perhaps the main reason Labor Day’s meaning has been lost amid picnics and holiday sales is the decline of unions. Union membership across the country has shrunk to less than one in eight (35.3 percent among publicsector workers and just 6.7 percent among private-sector workers in 2013) from nearly one in four throughout the 1970s. As membership declined, so did public support. According to a just-released Gallup tracking poll, a slim majority of Americans approve of labor unions—down from as high as three out of four in the booming postwar years. In the global, post-industrial era, industrial unions have less clout, and publicsector unions face well-resourced attacks from the right. In some cases, unions have left themselves open to criticism by retreating to the bread-and-butter concerns of its membership like wages and benefits, and by not embracing change, continuous reform and accountability, and an expansive vision of shared progress. Important new campaigns, though, are underway in retail stores like Walmart, in the tobacco fields and slaughterhouses where immigrants toil, and in charter schools where idealistic young teachers soon enough realize that they need a collective voice in the workplace to be treated and paid like professionals. Shoppers this weekend could hardly be blamed for going to Walmart for the latest feather-light flat screen television from China or Mexico—I’ll admit I’m dazzled by the low prices and pixel counts too. Or, better, people could go to Costco, where workers make about twice the Walmart wage, and don’t have to rely on federal benefits like food stamps and Medicaid (which, according to Americans for Tax Fairness, cost taxpayers $6.2 billion a year). In addition, Costco lets its workers unionize while Walmart instructs managers to report union activity or grumblings about wages to the company’s “Labor Relations Hotline.” Holiday shoppers will have to wait until Tuesday, though, because Costco is closed on Labor Day. Its workers are where they should be—at the family barbecue or the parade, celebrating our national holiday.
SFO Grievance Committee Election Update
On July 27, 2017 the following nominations for the Grievance Committee positions were accepted at the class and craft meetings:
Grievance Committee Coordinator
Harry Beier (Withdrew on Aug 1, 2017)
Grievance Committee Secretary
Line Chief Steward
Jet Shop Chief Steward
Airframe Chief Steward
MPA Chief Steward
Back Shop Chief Steward
Geoff Wik (Withdrew on Aug 2, 2017)
Because of the subsequent withdrawals by Harry Beier and Geoff Wik, the nominees for all positions were unopposed. Therefore, the sole nominees have been deemed elected by acclamation. The new 3-year terms will begin on September 5th. Congratulations to all the nominees. Thanks for all your dedication to the membership.
September Craft Meeting Canceled
Due to the TeamstersSFO Steward training which will occur at the end of September, the September Craft meeting has been canceled. Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to seeing all the Stewards in Tahoe for a great weekend of education and celebration of your efforts on behalf of the membership.
Article 5 Filling of Vacancies
The Company distributed a letter indicating that the provisions of Article 3.E.3.a. have been satisfied. That is, the 180-Day Period to submit for any BAQ for which you are ‘grandfathered’ has officially now come to a close. This means that the normal process for sorting Vacancy Bid Awards as described in Article 5.D.1.a. has begun. However, since the Company has not yet completed all ‘grandfathering’, we have been assured that any technician whose name appears on a Closed Bid list in the incorrect Sort Order because the Company has not yet correctly approved a BAQ to which he or she is entitled will have his Sort Order corrected. We have had several cases like this already and, to date, they have all been corrected. Please reach out to your Chief Steward if you find yourself in this predicament.
BAQ 113- Calibration Technician Correction
In the January 2017 BA Report we listed Bid Area 113 as one of the BAQ’s for which our folks were entitled. Subsequently, we realized that this Bid Area was one that always had required a Trade Test. Therefore, we must make the correction and remove BAQ 113 from the list. Sorry for any confusion that we caused.
The communication process is an extremely important part of what we do to represent our folks here at SFO and, as we have been outlining for quite some time, we have been blasting out the BA Report along with any other communication we get from the Airline Division or the International to anyone who registers at the TeamstersSFO website. Additionally, there are weekly meetings held with the Shop Stewards to pass on any important informational items that may come up during the month. It is crucial to our process that every area on every shift have Shop Steward representation and that the Shop Steward give, at a minimum, weekly briefings to his/her crew so that all the information gets to our members. We feel that it is essential for all of our members to be engaged and informed at all times. Therefore, we encourage all of you to spread the word to your fellow technicians to go to the TeamstersSFO website and click on the ‘email signup’ tab to get on the list. And, most importantly, we urge you to also consider getting more involved. Every month, on the last Thursday, we hold Craft Meetings at Local 856. At these meetings, the membership hears reports from the Business Agents and other members of the SFO Committee on Grievances, Safety, Member Assistance, and TSAP. Additionally, all members have an opportunity to ask questions and to bring up topics for discussion. Check your IBT Bulletin Board for dates and times and make it a point to stop by.
As always, stay informed!
Mark DesAngles Javier Lectora
Business Agent Local 986 Business Agent Local 856