Minutes of Meeting of

                     Local 880 General Membership

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

 

 

Officers Present:                                                                               Officers Excused:

President – Stephen P. Knestaut                                                        Steward – A. Morgan

Secretary-Treasurer – John Campanella                                            Steward – S. Rollins

Vice President – Raymond Cappy                                                     Steward – T. Simmons

Delegate – Joseph Romeo                                                                 

Delegate – Frank Olive                                                                     

Delegate – Gabe Sullivan                                                                  

Steward – Jean Castor                                                                                   

Steward – Bruce Chew                                                                      

Steward – Jami Lyles                                                                        

Steward – Joseph Marks                                                                   

Steward – Deonne Moore                                                                  

Steward – Conrad Reynolds                                                              

Steward – Felix Rogers                                                                     

Steward – Marvin Taylor                                                                  

Steward – Chris Walton                                                                    

 

Call to Order: President Knestaut opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. and asked for a moment of silence for: Brother Michael Panico, a pensioner who passed away; Sister Tynisha Braxton, whose mother passed away, Brother Kenneth Hedrick, whose mother passed away.

 

Minutes: President Knestaut said that the minutes were posted in all locations and asked for questions.  There were none.  A motion to accept September’s minutes was made by Brother Ray Wetzel Sr. and seconded by Brother Chris Walton.  Motion passed.

 

Financial Report: Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella read the financial report, which was also posted on the bulletin board, and asked for questions.  There were none.  A motion to accept the September’s financial report was made by Brother Gabe Sullivan and seconded by Brother Ray Wetzel Sr.  Motion passed.

 

New Business: President Knestaut asked for a motion to suspend new business, proceed to nominations and revisit new business if time permits.  Sister Jami Lyles made the motion which was seconded by Brother Marvin Taylor.  Motion passed

 

Nominations:  President Knestaut opened the floor for the nominations for the election of union officers.  Vice President Ray Cappy conducted the nominations.

 

President/Business Agent, Delegate to the NJ State Joint Council, Delegate to Int. Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Joseph Romeo

John Campanella

Margaret Thompson

Margaret Thompson

Steve Van Sant

Deonne Moore

Frank Olive Jr.

Gabe Sullivan

Ray Wetzel Sr.

Ray Wetzel Jr.

Note: Brother John Campanella was nominated but declined.  Brother Joe Cirelli was nominated but declined.

 

 

Secretary-Treasurer, Delegate to International Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

John Campanella (Elected)

Joseph Sullivan

Since the Secretary-Treasurer position is unopposed, Vice President Ray Cappy cast a single unanimous vote for John Campanella.

 

 

Vice President

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Ray Cappy

Steve Outterbridge

Brian Parks

Joseph Romeo

Conrad Reynolds

John Cooper

Joseph Marks

Joseph Ciancio

John Cooper

Deonne Moore

Corey Gallman

Joseph Streater

 

 

 

#1 Operators’ Delegate, Delegate to NJ State Joint Council, Delegate to Int. Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

John Cooper

Joseph Sullivan

Joseph Marks

Bruce Chew

Jami Lyles

Bruce Chew

Steve Outterbridge

Marvin Taylor

Conrad Reynolds

Jerome Page

Note: Marvin Taylor was nominated but declined.

#2 Mechanical Delegate, Delegate to NJ State Joint Council, Delegate to Int. Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Ben Davis

Orlando Perez

Ray Hinkle

Joseph Ciancio

Brian Parks

Bruce Chew

Note: Brother Frank Olive Jr. was nominated but declined.

 

 

#3 Field Salary Delegate, Delegate to NJ State Joint Council, Delegate to Int. Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Dave Nickodemus

Dave Nickodemus

Gabe Sullivan

Jim Colby

Deonne Moore

Jami Lyles

Anthony Morgan

Steve Outterbridge

Kim Williams

Joseph Streater

Margaret Thompson

Jami Lyles

 

 

Egg Harbor Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #1

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Chawn Jackson

Chawn Jackson

William Spencer

William Spencer

Jerome Page

Conrad Reynolds

Jean Castor

Conrad Reynolds

John Cooper

Joseph Romeo

 

 

Egg Harbor Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #2

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Chawn Jackson

Chawn Jackson

William Spencer

William Spencer

Jerome Page

Conrad Reynolds

Jean Castor

Conrad Reynolds

John Cooper

Joseph Romeo

 

 

Egg Harbor Twp. Mechanical Steward

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Steve Rollins (Elected)

James Hannon

Since the Egg Harbor Twp. Mechanical Steward’s position is unopposed, Vice President Ray Cappy cast one unanimous ballot for Steve Rollins.

 

 

 

 

Newton Ave. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #1

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Corey Gallman

Margaret Thompson

Curtis Shy

Margaret Thompson

James Sheil

Willie Sanders

Robert Bell

Gabe Sullivan

 

 

Newton Ave. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #2

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Curtis Shy

Margaret Thompson

Corey Gallman

Willie Sanders

James Sheil

Willie Sanders

Robert Bell

Gabe Sullivan

Robert Jackson

Joseph Marks

Note: Sister Jami Lyles was nominated but declined.  Brother James Hines was nominated but declined.

 

 

Newton Ave. Mechanical Steward

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Joseph Ciancio

Edwin Rivera

Brian Parks

Bruce Chew

Chris Walton

Dawn Hilton

Rajnikant Patel

Orlando Marrero

 

 

Washington Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #1

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Omar Higgs

Omar Higgs

Felix Rogers

Anthony Knight

Steve Outterbridge

David Mitchell

Marvin Taylor

Steve Outterbridge

Gail McLallen

Eileen Duzenski

 

 

Washington Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #2

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Omar Higgs

Omar Higgs

Felix Rogers

Anthony Knight

Marvin Taylor

Steve Outterbridge

Gail McLallen

Eileen Duzenski

Steve Outterbridge

David Mitchell

 

Washington Twp. Mechanical/Facilities Maintenance Steward

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Timothy J. Simmons

Timothy J. Simmons

Rondell Braxton

Rondell Braxton

 

 

Washington Twp. Body Shop/Non-Rev. Steward

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Bruce Chew (Elected)

Joseph Romeo

Since Brother Chew is unopposed, Vice President Ray Cappy cast one unanimous ballot for Bruce Chew.

 

 

Field Salary Steward – North

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Anthony Morgan

Anthony Morgan

Kim Williams

Joseph Marks

James Sprenger

Gabe Sullivan

Note: Sister Jenny Payne was nominated but declined.

 

 

Field Salary Steward – South

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Deonne Moore

Conrad Reynolds

Note: Brother Rick Bucci was nominated but the nomination was withdrawn because Brother Bucci recently bid a job working in the North area.

 

 

#4 Operators’ Alternate Delegate to the International Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

Ray Cappy

John Campanella

 

 

#5 Mechanical Alternate Delegate to the International Convention

Nominee:

Nominated by:

James Farrell Jr.

Gabe Sullivan

Matthew Van Sant

Bruce Chew

Note: Brother Jerome Page nominated Brother Steve Rollins but withdrew his nomination.

 

 

Brother John Campanella asked if there were any questions regarding the election process before we proceed to new business.  Brother Campanella explained that the voting will take place in the garages.  Voting will not be done by mail this year.  Members nominated for more than one position must notify the secretary-treasurer, in writing, within seven days which position or positions they are declining and which one position they are accepting.  If any member fails to notify the secretary-treasurer within seven days, all positions for which they are nominated become void.  A member asked how the members, not in attendance, will know they were nominated.  Brother Campanella said that the union will let them know.  Brother Frank Olive asked if the ballots will be counted at the union hall.  Brother Campanella said that the ballots will be counted in the locations where the votes were cast.  Brother Olive said the letter he read from the International was unclear and it could be a toss-up where the votes are counted.   Brother Olive said that he thinks the ballots should be counted at the union hall.  Brother John Campanella explained to the members that the International Union approved the changes to our bylaws but used ambiguous wording, such as – “appear to be in compliance” and “we offer these recommendations.”  Brother Campanella said that he sent a response back to our International, with a copy of our bylaws, as amended, stating that the ballot committee will receive a copy of President Hanley’s letter and we will follow his recommendations.  Vice President Ray Cappy said that to avoid the accusations of any impropriety, the ballot box will be opened and the ballots will be counted in front of witnesses at the locations.  Brother Campanella said that the election committee could be accused of stuffing the ballot boxes while transporting the ballots back to the union hall.

 

Brother John Campanella asked for the members to decide with a motion to count the ballots in the locations where the ballots were cast.  Sister Jami Lyles made a motion that the ballots will be counted in the locations where the ballots were cast.  This motion was seconded by Brother Corey Gallman.  Motion passed. 

 

A member asked if he was on vacation, can he get a ballot to mail in.  Vice President Ray Cappy said no, the voting must be done in the locations stipulated.  

A retired member asked how soon an amendment can be introduced to change the bylaws back so every retiree who moved out of state can vote.  Brother John Campanella said that the procedures to amend the bylaws were properly followed.  The bylaw amendment was read at a general membership meeting and placed in the minutes.  It was read at a second general membership meeting; a vote was taken and the members voted to approve the change.  The amended bylaws were sent to our International Union and were approved.  The International Constitution says that retirees have a voice but no vote on any matters affecting the local union and the active members approved this change.  This retired member asked if we checked with other local unions on how they conduct elections.  Brother Campanella said that the bylaws for other local unions have nothing to do with our bylaws.  Retired Local 880 President Joseph Sullivan said that Local 819, the largest local union on the State Council, votes in locations.  Brother Sullivan asked if members voting in a location, other than their own, can vote for shop stewards because he does not believe they can.  Vice President Ray Cappy told Brother Sullivan that he was correct because the other locations would not have the shop steward ballots.  (Note: Vice President Ray Cappy said after the meeting that the election committee should be able to address this issue to include shop steward ballots.)

 

Brother John Campanella said that one of the reasons the bylaw committee changed the election procedure to a primary system was the fact that an unlimited number of union members can run for president and therefore, theoretically, the president could be elected with a very small number of votes.  The primary system prevents this from happening.  Brother Gabe Sullivan said that the bylaw committee debated this issue very thoroughly; it was not done in haste.  Brother Campanella said that there were members on the bylaw committee that opposed the change.  Brother Joe Sullivan asked who appointed the bylaw committee.  Brother Campanella said that the president appointed the committee.  A member asked why the bylaws were changed to allow voting by mail.  Brother Campanella said that the mail-in system became effective for the election of union officers in 2003 and asked Brother Ray Wetzel, who was chairman of that committee, to explain why the voting method was changed.  Brother Ray Wetzel said that he was the chairman of the bylaw committee for election of officers for 2003 and Brother Ray Cappy was his co-chairman.  Brother Wetzel said that the committee decided to have a mail-in ballot so people can vote who are living out of state or who cannot make it to the garages.  Brother Ray Wetzel said that he had no control over the new bylaw committee, but that is the reason for the changes in 2003.  Brother Ray Cappy confirmed that Brother Wetzel was correct.  Brother Campanella asked Brother Wetzel if he voted in the garages before the change was made in 2003.  Brother Wetzel said that is correct.  Brother Campanella said that the main concern of the bylaw committee was that any number of members could run for office and could win with a very low number of votes because there is no run-off election.  Brother Wetzel said yes, the top vote-getter would win. 

 

A retired member said that we could have had a run-off election by mail.  Brother Campanella said he was correct.  Local 880 could have a run-off election by mail but we would need to hold the election earlier, say November, in order to have time to conduct the run-off election in December.  This retired member said that the bylaw committee did not allow enough time for a run-off election by mail.  Brother Campanella said we would need two months to conduct a mail-in election under the primary system.  Brother Joe Sullivan said that the largest local union in the ATU uses mail-in ballots because the area they cover is so vast. 

 

Brother Campanella said that the committee followed the proper procedures.  The bylaw change was approved by the members and the International Union.  Brother Campanella asked if there were any other questions about the election.  Brother Jerome Page asked if there will be a “Meet the Candidates” meeting or debate for the president’s position.  Brother Campanella said that must be arranged between the candidates.  There is nothing in our bylaws that state that there must be a debate.  If all the candidates agree to get together and have a debate, we could possibly use the union hall.  Brother Campanella said that he does not recall a debate ever being held, which Brother Cappy confirmed.  The candidates need to get out into the field and introduce themselves to the members.  Brother Page said that he was following up on Brother Sullivan’s point that many members do not know the candidates and we want to pick the right person.

 

A member asked if an officer was unable to finish their term, how long it would take to have another election.  Brother Campanella said that the president would appoint someone in the interim and we would have another election.  Brother Ray Wetzel said that the bylaws state the election must be held within 90 days.  Brother Campanella said that we would conduct another election if it was feasible.  We would not have an election for a term that expires in a few months.  A member asked for clarification, by saying that the current president does not run against the members nominated tonight.  Brother Cappy said that is correct.  Brother Campanella said that only the people nominated are running for the positions.  President Knestaut said that only the members nominated are running for office.  Brother Campanella asked if there were any other questions.  There were none.  President Knestaut told the members that he is not running for office and is planning on retiring or going back to his former position.

New Business:  President Knestaut told bus operators not to disable the seat alarms.  NJT will be checking the buses for disabled seat alarms.  If anyone is caught, they will be disciplined, which could result in being discharged.

President Knestaut told members that regional supervisors will be stationed and working out of the garages on a daily basis.

 

President Knestaut gave the members an update on our arbitration cases and told members that we lost the arbitration case for Brother Sayid Nixon.

 

President Knestaut said that 400,000 people attended a climate march in New York City recently.  Brother Joe Marks attended with President Knestaut and his grandchildren.

 

President Knestaut told members that hopefully at the next State Council meeting we will discuss the company’s contract proposal.  The company is threatening to pull the proposal back if we do not act soon.  If this happens, we will probably end up in arbitration.  The main sticking point is the company wants the members to pay 15% of the prescription costs and the union wants to verify the costs and who is on the plan.

 

Brother Jerome Page said that he received a letter from NJ Transit that they are going to change the prescription plan.  The letter stated that he needs to pick a plan and the premiums are going to increase.  Brother Page said that this issue should be addressed in contract negotiations.  Brother Campanella said that he is not aware of a letter like the one explained.  Brother Campanella said that he is only aware of a letter sent by NJ Transit regarding prescription coverage for members on Medicare and this would not affect the active members.  Brother Page said that he believes the letter was regarding Medicare.

 

Adjourn: Adjourn:  A motion to adjourn was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Corey Gallman.  Motion passed.  Meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

John Campanella

Secretary-Treasurer

 

 

Note: The next general membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.  Hope to see you there.