Minutes of Meeting of

Local 880 General Membership

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 

 

Officers Present:                                                                               Officers Excused:

President – Stephen P. Knestaut                                                        Steward – J. Castor

Secretary-Treasurer – John Campanella                                            Steward – D. Moore

Vice President – Raymond Cappy                                                     Steward – C. Reynolds

Delegate – Joseph Romeo                                                                  Steward – S. Rollins

Delegate – Frank Olive                                                                      Steward – C. Walton

Delegate – Gabe Sullivan                                                                  

Steward – Bruce Chew                                                                      

Steward – Jami Lyles                                                                        

Steward – Joseph Marks                                                                   

Steward – Anthony Morgan                                                              

Steward – Felix Rogers                                                                     

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: Sister Lakesha Steele and Brother Felix Rogers, whose infant son passed away; Brother Vance Dixon, a pensioner whose wife passed away; Sister Alexis Allen, whose brother passed away; Brother Millard “Van” Foster, whose mother passed away as a result of a traffic accident; Sister Marybelle Figueroa, who has a very serious illness; Brother Mike Zorn, whose close friend passed away; Brother Harry Kennedy, whose son passed away; our soldiers.

 

Minutes: President Knestaut said that the minutes were posted in all locations and asked for questions.  There were none.  A motion to accept October’s minutes was made by Brother Gabe Sullivan 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 October’s financial report was made by Brother Robert Jackson and seconded by Brother Gabe Sullivan.  Motion passed.

Election Update: Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella told members that the seven day notification period is over and the following candidates are running for office.  If an office is not announced, it means the candidate for that office is unopposed.

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

Nominees:

Frank Olive

Joseph Romeo

Margaret Thompson

Steve Van Sant

Ray Wetzel Sr.

 

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

Nominees:

Jami Lyles

Joseph Marks

 

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

Nominees:

Dave Nickodemus

Gabe Sullivan

Kim Williams

 

#5 Mechanical Alternate Delegate to the International Convention

Nominees:

James Farrell Jr.

Matthew Van Sant

 

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

Nominees:

Chawn Jackson

Jerome Page

 

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

Nominees:

Jean Castor

William Spencer

 

Newton Ave. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #2

Nominees:

Robert Jackson

James Sheil

 

 

 

 

Newton Ave. Mechanical Steward

Nominees:

Joseph Ciancio

Ben Davis

Chris Walton

 

Washington Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward – Position #2

Nominees:

Omar Higgs

Steve Outterbridge Sr.

Marvin Taylor

 

Washington Twp. Mechanical/Facilities Maintenance Steward

Nominees:

Rondell Braxton

Timothy Simmons

 

Field Salary Steward – North

Nominees:

Anthony Morgan

James Sprenger

 

 

Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella told members that the following offices/candidates are uncontested/unopposed since the last meeting due to the seven day notification period requiring candidates to notify the secretary-treasurer their intentions.

 

       Deonne Moore is uncontested for Field Salary Shop Steward South.  Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Sister Deonne Moore.

 

       John Cooper is uncontested for Vice President.  Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Brother John Cooper.  Brother Conrad Reynolds withdrew his nomination a few days ago and there is no need for this office to be contested.

 

       Ray Cappy is uncontested for #4 Operators Alternate Delegate to the ATU International Convention.  Secretary-John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Brother Ray Cappy.

 

       Brian Parks is uncontested for Mechanical Delegate.  Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Brother Brian Parks.

 

       Corey Gallman is uncontested for Newton Ave. Bus Operators’ Steward Position #1.  Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Brother Corey Gallman.

 

       Felix Rogers is uncontested for Washington Twp. Bus Operators’ Steward Position #1.  Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella cast one unanimous ballot for Brother Felix Rogers.

 

Congratulations to all the uncontested candidates.  (Applause)

 

Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella announced that the following members will be on the election committee:  Corey Gallman, Brian Parks, Felix Rogers, Bruce Chew, Deonne Moore, Steve Rollins, John Cooper, and Conrad Reynolds.  The election committee will be handling the mailing to the members notifying them of the election, date, time, polling locations and offices being contested.  The information will be mailed to the last known members’ addresses listed with the International Union.  Please let the union hall know if you changed your address recently because NJ Transit does not notify the union of address changes.

 

Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella informed members that the general membership meeting for December will be pushed back one week in case there is a run-off election.  We cannot swear-in officers until the final results.  Brother Campanella asked if any members had a problem with moving the meeting back one week.  There was no response.

 

Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella told the members that in 2011 the election committee adopted some guidelines for the election and Brother Campanella asked the members if they would like to adopt similar guidelines for the upcoming election.  The guidelines are as follows: Members who are discharged prior to November 1, 2014 and are not in good standing with their dues will not receive a ballot.  Brother Frank Olive asked if discharged members who are current with their dues can vote.  Brother Campanella said yes and explained that our local does not press discharged members for union dues while they are discharged.  It is a past practice that we have been doing for many years because the union looks heartless trying to collect dues from discharged members.  We collect their full dues when they are reinstated.  Any members who are out sick, on workers’ compensation, or TDA will receive ballots as long as they are on their location’s seniority list.  The ballot committee consists of uncontested candidates and the committee members are not considered nominees because they are unopposed; therefore, they can serve on the ballot committee.  All new members enrolled on November 1, 2014 will receive ballots because they are paying dues for November, but they must have made at least one payment on their initiation fee.  Brother John Campanella asked if any members had any problems or concerns with these recommendations to be included in the upcoming election.  There was no response. 

 

A motion to accept the 2011 ballot committee’s recommendations as guidelines for the 2014 election was made by Brother Bruce Chew and seconded by Sister Jami Lyles.  Motion passed without objection.

 

 

Brother John Campanella asked the candidates to introduce themselves to the members who may not know them.  Each of the candidates present introduced themselves.  Applause.  Good luck to everyone running for office.

 

Arbitration Cases: Brother Marvin Walker presented his accident case to the members and answered all questions.  A motion to vote was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Robert Jackson.  Motion passed.  The results of the vote were 41 yes votes and 4 no votes.  This case is approved for arbitration.

 

Sister Christine Yates presented her discharge case to the members and answered all questions.  A motion to vote was made by Brother Gabe Sullivan and seconded by Sister Jami Lyles.  Motion passed.  The results of the vote were 20 yes votes and 24 no votes.  This case is not approved for arbitration. 

 

New Business: President Knestaut gave the members an update where cases stand in the grievance procedure and arbitration cases.

 

President Knestaut told members that the contract vote will take place on November 21st in all three garages and the ACBT.

 

President Knestaut told operators not to tie knots in the seatbelts.

 

President Knestaut told bus operators to be careful because the clever device has GPS and the company can tell where you are at all times.  Be careful.

 

President Knestaut told members that the next general membership meeting will be on December 16th because of the election.  The executive board meeting will be moved up one week.

 

Santa’s Visit:  President Steve Knestaut told the members that even though he is not seeking reelection, he would still like to be Santa this year for the kids again.  Santa will be at the union hall on December 13th from 11 AM to 2 PM.  Every child will receive a gift.  We have a lot of gifts left over from last year, so it should not cost as much this year.  A member suggested giving out gift certificates to the kids instead of gifts.  President Knestaut said that it is less expensive to give gifts and the kids prefer gifts.  A motion to approve a $1,000 budget for Santa’s visit was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Frank Olive.  Motion passed.

 

New Business Continued: President Knestaut told members to be careful about the double holiday pay at Thanksgiving.  You do not want to lose double holiday pay by being late or calling out.

 

President Knestaut explained the contract proposal briefly and told members that the contract vote will be on November 21st.  President Knestaut asked for questions.  A retired member asked if retirees can vote on the contract.  President Knestaut said no.  A member asked why we are not getting any media coverage regarding the fact that we have been without a contract for the last five years.  President Knestaut said that it was the State Council Chairman’s decision.  So as of today, we have not demonstrated or done anything.  This member asked why.  President Knestaut said you need to ask the chairman why.  This member asked why we settled for 15% on the prescriptions without starting lower.  President Knestaut said the union tried but they looked at other contracts and thought it was reasonable.  President Knestaut said that the average bus operator will come out approximately $10,000 ahead with this contract proposal. 

 

A member asked if we know how much our dues will be going up because of the International.  Brother John Campanella said that the International Union raised our per capita tax three-dollars ($1.50 last July and $1.50 this July coming).  Our local union cannot absorb this increase so we are going to have to adjust our dues.  We have been trying to keep the dues steady but at some point we are going to have to address this issue.  Brother Campanella told the members that we could have absorbed this increase in per capita tax if we assessed the members for our legal bill every year in accordance with our bylaws.  We have paid out over three hundred thousand dollars over the last eleven years which we would have in our coffers if we assessed.  However, we were able to pay all our bills on the current dues structure, so we did not assess.  Therefore, we saved the members money over the years, but some members will still be upset when we have to raise the dues.

 

A member asked about the attendance watch.  President Knestaut said that there will not be an attendance watch in the new contract proposal. 

 

Adjourn: A motion to adjourn was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Frank Olive.  Motion passed.  Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

 

Sincerely,

John Campanella

Secretary-Treasurer

 

Note: The next general membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.  The December general membership meeting was moved back one-week to December 16th in case there is a run-off election.  The new officers can be sworn-in at the meeting.  Hope to see you there.