Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Officers Present: Officers Excused:
President – Stephen P. Knestaut Delegate – F. Olive Jr.
Secretary-Treasurer – John Campanella Delegate – G. Sullivan
Vice President – Raymond Cappy Steward – J. Marks
Delegate – Joseph Romeo Steward – D. Moore
Steward – Jean Castor Steward – A. Morgan
Steward – Bruce Chew Steward – C. Reynolds
Steward – Jami Lyles Steward – S. Rollins
Steward – Felix Rogers Steward – C. Walton
Steward – Timothy J. Simmons
Steward – Marvin Taylor
Call to Order: President Knestaut opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. and asked for a moment of silence for: Brother William Forchion, a pensioner who passed away; Brother John Hamler, a pensioner who passed away; Brother Larry Henderson, whose brother passed away; Brother Guy Harper, whose father passed away; Sister Michele James, whose father passed away; Sister Dawn Davis-Earl, whose mother passed away; Sister Donna Selby, whose husband passed away; Sister Thomasine Dukes, whose mother passed away; Sister Helen Long, whose brother passed away; our troops.
Minutes: President Knestaut said that the minutes were posted in all locations and asked for questions. There were none. A motion to accept November’s minutes was made by Brother Dave Nickodemus and seconded by Brother Marvin Taylor. 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 November’s financial report was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Robert Jackson. Motion passed.
Swearing-In: ATU State Council Chairman Ray Greaves presided over the swearing-in and officially installed the following officers: Joseph Romeo, John Campanella, John Cooper, Jami Lyles, Brian Parks, David Nickodemus, Jean Castor, Bruce Chew, Corey Gallman, Robert Jackson, Jerome Page, Felix Rogers, Timothy Simmons, and Marvin Taylor.
President Knestaut thanked the officers who are leaving the union’s service. Ray Greaves congratulated the newly elected officers and all the candidates who ran for office. Chairman Greaves said that participation in the union makes the union stronger. Chairman Greaves also thanked President Steve Knestaut, Vice President Ray Cappy and the rest of the union officers for the outstanding job that they have done.
Steve Knestaut thanked everyone and asked Chairman Greaves if he would give the members an update on the contract and answer questions. Chairman Greaves gave a thorough explanation of the status of contract negotiations and answered all questions.
A member asked if we can use the Pope coming to Philadelphia as leverage and why there is no media coverage on how rotten NJT is treating its employees. This member said that Septa gets things done. Chairman Greaves said that Septa has the right to strike and there are Democrats in office in Pennsylvania. Septa has not addressed their pension and health care issues. Chairman Greaves went on to explain the issues we are facing.
A member said that the members working in the locations are not being kept informed about what is going on. This member said that not enough members attend the union meetings and asked how we can rally support. Chairman Greaves said that members need to attend the meetings, get involved and become part of the process. Our International Union just purchased the George Meany Labor College so things are being done to move this union forward. We need to educate our members in the labor movement.
A member asked what the union was requesting in contract negotiations and if there would be another wish list coming out. Chairman Greaves said that there will not be another wish list and what the union is requesting cannot be divulged at this time. Chairman Greaves said that the State Council did not have to bring the contract proposal to the members for a vote, but the majority of the members on the council thought that the members should see the proposal and have the opportunity to vote on it. We did not want to hide anything from the members. The member voted it down so we are proceeding to arbitration. Members need to trust that the union and its attorneys will put on the best possible case in arbitration. Chairman Greaves said that we need to know what is obtainable.
Brother Felix Rogers said that the State Council should be more attuned to what the members want. Chairman Greaves said that the local union officers should be relaying this information to the State Council Chairman. Brother Rogers asked if he could read the minutes from State Council meetings. Chairman Greaves said he has no objections to the request. Each local union is given a copy of the State Council’s minutes each month.
A member asked why the union does not shoot for the stars when asking for items in the contract. Brother Greaves said that he has already explained the reasons. Chairman Greaves explained why the union cannot ask for too much in arbitration.
Brother Jerome Page said that the grievance procedure needs to be addressed. Brother Page said that in termination cases, if the member is not reinstated in the second step, then there is no reason for the third and fourth step. The company is saving money by dragging the process out. We need to figure out a way to fight this issue. Chairman Greaves said that we are asking for expedited arbitrations in our contract demands. We are also asking for changes in the third and fourth step grievance procedure. We have had many discussions over the grievance procedure in our council meetings. The union officers are bogged down in grievances and need more time to work on bigger issues.
Brother Page said that we could do informational picketing which is different from striking. Chairman Greaves said that the State Council has discussed this and there are strategies in the works. If you log on to the International’s website (www.atu.org), you will see some of the things that are being done to fight privatization and service cuts. We need to have a plan in place. We need commitments from the local union officers and its members to participate in these campaigns. The International Union is committed to helping us with our issues.
Brother Corey Gallman asked where the Union stands with the cell phone policy because the company is misusing the cameras in order to discipline our members. We need to know what the company can and cannot do with these cameras. Chairman Greaves explained the issues involving the cameras and said that the union is challenging the company on some of these issues.
Brother Jerome Page said that the company wanted the cell phone policy but it was never negotiated with the union. Chairman Greaves said that the company did negotiate the cell phone policy with the union. There were many reasons for implementation of the cell phone policy including some fatal accidents.
A member asked about the position of the cameras facing the operators. Chairman Greaves said that the union did have some cameras repositioned, but the company says that the cameras are there for the operators’ safety. There was further discussion regarding the cameras.
Note: Chairman Greaves stayed after the meeting and answered more questions from the members.
Adjourn: A motion to adjourn was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Corey Gallman. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Note: The next general membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. Hope to see you there.