NABET/CWA Local 42 General Membership Meeting 10-15-11

“Stay Together, Focus and Fight”

The meeting was called to order by NABET/CWA Local 42 President Bill Wachenschwanz at 12:30 PM. Bill welcomed the forty plus Members, Retirees and Guests present and invited them to prepare questions for NABET/CWA Sector President, Jim Joyce and Sector Vice President, Charles Braico, who will address the Members later in the meeting.

Bill Wachenschwanz introduces NABET/CWA Sector President, Jim Joyce, and invites Jim to the podium.

Jim thanks the Membership of Local 42 for the invitation to speak and begins with an overview of activities and events that have taken place in the past year and a summary of several activities the Sector is initiating to help strengthen the Locals.

This past July 2011, the Triennial Sector Conference was held in Las Vegas. Jim Joyce was re-elected Sector President and Charlie Braico was elected Sector Vice-President for a four year term in keeping with CWA By-Laws. The next Sector Conference will be in 2015. Jim thanked Local 42 Vice President, Jim Kolendo for the fine work he did on the By-Law Committee and said Jim K. represented our Local well.

President Joyce up-dated the Membership on the status of our Legal Counsel at the Sector Level. Matt Harris, former NABET Counsel, left in March to take a position with the Brotherhood of the Teamsters. Jim is happy to announce that we have hired
Ms. Judiann Chartier, Esquire, currently practicing with Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Einstein, Johnson and Bareck in Chicago, IL. Judiann will be working out of the Sector office in Washington, DC after she completes her assignments with her current employer and relocates. Judi has done work for Local 41 and both Jim and Charlie were complimentary of her work for that Local. Judiann will be working for the Sector full-time as of November 14, 2011.
Jim said that Chuck DeGross has been doing a great job and will continue on with the ULP at WKYC/Gannett.
Jim touched on the topic of National Projects and the focus on Organizing and help in bargaining. Jim spoke about the Defense Fund Oversight Committee and is pleased to report that NABET and TNG now have a seat. Eddie Phillips is on that Committee which allocated 50 thousand dollars to Local 42 for use on the Plain Dealer informational Ad about our struggle at WKYC that ran on the July 4th weekend.

Jim also explained the structure of the Strategic Industry Fund and how money is incremented into industry projects for organizing as well as training programs for members. A new initiative will rebate money to each Local on a per-capita basis to help Locals create their own programs to make each Local stronger.

President Joyce spoke about Lynda.com and gave kudos to Local VP Jim Kolendo for
his administration of the licenses for Regions Two and Six. Jim urges everyone to get involved with the Lynda.com training as well as the BURST Final Cut Pro Lab which will be back in Cleveland next Spring. Sector VP Braico, Chair of the Committee on Technology and Training, will talk about some exciting new programs during his presentation to the Local.

Jim shared many insights on SIF projects including identifying places where Unionization is needed, particularly in the Hispanic areas of media. Jim also mentioned the “Organizing Institute” that was held here in Cleveland last January. He spoke eloquently on the topic and said that Local issues are often the precursor to National issues. Jim encourages all of us to get involved, put up yard signs, get out and vote. He said that we “…need to make sure we have a secure future with our employers. The Union is our voice at work. We fought for these rights, for our children and for those workers that will come after us. Make sure our voice is heard.”

Jim Joyce discussed programs that are being developed to build coalitions with groups that have common interests. One group he mentioned was “Occupy Wall Street” and how their issues relate to organized Labor. Jim said that corporate CEO’s are using their power to suppress Workers rights. Jim presented startling statistics such as the fact that Union Membership in the private sector has gone from 38% Organized in 1955 to 7% in 2010. At the same time frame, the tax base used to keep or country funded went from a corporate tax of 27% down to 8.9% while the individual tax rate went from 58% up to 81.5%. Worker productivity has gone UP 25% while wages have gone DOWN 20%. CEO’s have not taken the same kind of wage cuts; in 2010 the average CEO compensation was 343 times GREATER than the average worker! This is what “Occupy Wall Street” is all about. Jim said “A rising tide raises all boats”; they are committed to the cause and we can take a lesson from them. He thanked all of us for our support in the fight against Verizon and their efforts to get a CBA.

Jim concluded his speech by reviewing the events of last week’s CWA District Four Meeting and Seth Rosen’s speech which featured our struggle at WKYC and Seth’s request for all Locals to support our cause. Jim wants to continue to build strong communication in the Local and thanked the Retired Members for their commitment to the Union.

Bill Wachenschwanz thanked President Joyce for his presentation and welcomed Sector Vice President Charlie Braico to the podium.

Charlie thanked Local 42 for the invitation to our General Membership Meeting and reviewed his history in the Union. Charlie grew up in Chicago’s Southside and has been active in the Union since 1978. He began employment at ABC in 1979 in Local 41 and took over as Local 41 President in 2010. His Local has nine Units and includes Network as well as FOX, PBS and Spanish language station contracts. He said that battles are being waged in every city and that we need to “stick together and fight to shift the momentum our way”.

As Chair of Training and Technology, Charlie reviewed the Lynda.com program and also thanked Local VP Kolendo for the nice job he does administering the licenses. There are over one thousand topic/titles available to study and the Sector picks up the cost so Members can train free of charge. A new program will be rolled out in April 2012 called “Class-On-Demand”. It is an on-line training system similar to Lynda.com but can be customized to specific equipment. They will actually make DVD’s and tutorials to suit the exact setting you need! More information will be presented in 2012.

Charlie said that we are a diverse Union with many contracts, jobs and people and the efforts are being made to align the structure within the Sector to improve communication and coordination with the Staff Reps.

In conclusion, Charlie said we need to “Organize the Un-Organized” including the daily hires. He thanked the Retired Members and urged everyone to get out and vote NO on Issue 2 on November second.

Bill Wachenschwanz opens the floor to questions from the Membership.

The first question/comment was regarding the process of taking a grievance to Arbitration and what criteria the Sector uses in proceeding with a grievance. The issue of holding the company to the terms of the ratified CBA through the grievance process was emphasized. President Joyce reviewed the three step process of grievance: First there is a verbal notification/identification at the Local level followed by a written grievance. The written grievance goes to the Sector where progression to Arbitration is authorized. Finally Arbitration takes place. VP Braico said that there had been a gap in the process with Matt Harris leaving, but that there will be a “breath of fresh air” when Judiann Chartier comes on board in November.

A question was raised about the political make-up of the NLRB. Jim Joyce gave an illuminating explanation of the process of President Obama’s appointments to the Board during the Easter recess in 2009. Jim assured the Members that NABET and CWA will be closely monitoring the appointments to the NLRB and will be proactive with communication with the White House.

Local 42 President Bill Wachenschwanz presents his comments on the state of our Local.

Bill said first and foremost that the Local is sound financially. We have had a difficult time with the dues check off issue at WKYC and some Members at WKYC really need to step up and pay their fair share. We don’t win the fight we are facing without money.
We need to “stay together, focus and fight”. Our common goal of making a decent wage for our families and having safe working conditions are realized through collective bargaining. We need to stay strong and united; focused on that goal so each Unit at every station can achieve that ideal.

Bill stressed the importance of getting the vote out AGAINST Issue 2. It is not just about Firemen and Police; it is an issue that affects us all. It is an attack on jobs and the right to collective bargaining.

Local 42 Vice President Jim Kolendo addressed the Membership.

Jim reminds everyone that our Union Dues pay for the on-line training available on Lynda.com and that we all need to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. All a Member has to do is contact their Steward about registering and provide a valid e-mail address and you are on your way.

Jim is pleased to announce the BURST Final Cut Pro Lab will return to Cleveland in March of 2012. There will be two sessions per week beginning March 11th through March 31st. Each session will run three days; Sunday, Monday and Tuesday or
Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There is a $50 dollar registration fee that will be FULLY refunded once you have completed your entire three day session. Please contact your Steward to sign up.

President Wachenschwanz thanked everyone for attending and invited Members to enjoy lunch and the company of their fellow Union Brothers and Sisters. A Motion was made by Terry Trakas to adjourn the meeting. Kathy Smith seconded.
The meeting ended at 1:58PM.

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