Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Officers Present: Officers Excused:
President – Stephen P. Knestaut Delegate – J. Romeo
Secretary-Treasurer – John Campanella Delegate – G. Sullivan
Vice President – Raymond Cappy Steward – J. Castor
Delegate – Frank Olive Steward – A. Morgan
Steward – Deletha Carstarphen Steward – S. Rollins
Steward – Bruce Chew Steward – T.J. Simmons
Steward – Jami Lyles Steward – C. Walton
Steward – Joseph Marks
Steward – Deonne Moore
Steward – Conrad Reynolds
Steward – Felix Rogers
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 Roy Newman, a pensioner who passed away; Brother Michael Dannenhauer Sr., a pensioner whose father passed away; Brother Joseph Dannenhauer Jr., a pensioner whose father passed away; Brother Michael Dannenhauer Jr., an active member whose grandfather passed away; Brother Richard Barabin, whose sister-in-law passed away; Brother Joseph Streater, whose mother passed away; Brother Marvin Taylor, whose cousin passed away; Brother Jim Brinson, whose mother-in-law passed away; Sister Antoinette Williams, whose son was gravely injured; Carmen Mignogna, a former member who 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 the minutes was made by Brother Marvin Taylor and seconded by Brother William Martynek. 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 financial report for January was made by Sister Deletha Carstarphen and seconded by Brother William Martynek. Motion passed.
New Business: President Knestaut thanked Sister Deletha Carstarphen for her work as shop steward. Sister Carstarphen is retiring (applause).
President Knestaut said that the Business Agents voted in favor of putting the contract proposal up for a vote with the entire State Council, provided the State of NJ will put the proposal in writing. The State Council Delegates will vote February 20th on whether or not to bring the contract back to the membership. If the vote is yes, then the membership will vote on whether to accept the contract proposal. We will have special meetings to explain the proposal if necessary. President Knestaut explained the proposal and answered some questions. There was some discussion.
President Knestaut said that new CDL physical guidelines take place in May of 2014. After May, all physicians performing CDL physicals must be certified.
President Knestaut told members to report all problems with the safety shields to the control center, shop foremen and the union hall. A member asked if anyone contacted OSHA to see if these shields are safe. President Knestaut said he was not sure and asked some shop personnel if they are aware. President Knestaut said that South Jersey was against getting the safety shields. North Jersey wanted them because of some attacks on bus operators.
President Knestaut said that there was a State-Wide informational meeting on January 25th in North Jersey and thanked the following members for attending: Brothers Felix Rogers, Joseph Streater, Corey Gallman, Willie Sanders, Brian Parks, Frank Olive, James Sheil, Joseph Marks, Patrick Paul, Anthony Morgan, John Campanella, himself, and Sisters Renata Tramel, Sara Smith, Kathy Lannon, Jami Lyles, Damaris Ortega, Margaret Thompson, and Denise Holland. President Knestaut also thanked Brother Brian Parks and Frank Olive for picking up refreshments and thanked Brothers Brian Parks and Joseph Marks for attending the funeral service for Brother Roy Newman after leaving the meeting in North Jersey.
President Knestaut said that he is still trying to get cameras installed in the parking lots of the three garages. A member said that motorists are not stopping for pedestrians in front of the Newton Ave. garage.
President Knestaut said that originally South Jersey was going to be excluded from the Super Bowl, but he told management that he wanted South Jersey to be a part of it and management agreed. President Knestaut said that he did not think there would be problems with the Super Bowl but there were at Newton Ave. We are investigating the problems at Newton Ave. The union put out a notice regarding the rules. President Knestaut said that he went to Newton Ave. on the Friday before the Super Bowl and was told that everything was fine and he left it alone, which turned out to be a mistake. He should have stayed on top of the situation. We now have a few grievances that need to be addressed, especially if people were used on their day off. We are still investigating and hopefully will have something to mention on this subject later. Sister Jami Lyles asked about the investigation. President Knestaut said that we requested the extra boards and day off lists to see if anyone was passed. We also want to see why part-timers were used. A member said that there was no communication at Newton Ave. to let bus operators know that there was extra work available for the Super Bowl. How would anyone know there was work available to sign up for? A member said that there was a list in the window. Some members said that there was not a list in the window. President Knestaut said that the operators could have signed the day off list. A member said that the day off list was not for the Super Bowl; this was special work. A discussion and argument ensued regarding the Super Bowl. President Knestaut said that not once did the supervisor or depot master call the union hall to ask if they could use part-time or day-off bus operators for the Super Bowl. President Knestaut said that he should have stayed on top of the situation better and he wants anyone who was wronged to be paid.
President Knestaut opened the floor for questions.
A member said that the convex mirror at Bridge Plaza needs to be adjusted. Sister Jami Lyles said that the potholes at the Bridge Plaza need to be filled, they are very deep. President Knestaut said we will address these issues.
A member said that there is a large pothole at 10th and Federal St. President Knestaut told operators to report the potholes to the control center also.
Brother Patrick Paul said that he believes a lot of members hate wasting time by coming to union meetings and not getting things accomplished. We all have a vested interest in getting this contract squared away and we need to be patient. No one here wants to lose what we already have so we need to give it a little more time. Also, we talk about the problems at NJ Transit and we all seem to have the same issues in the garages. We are our own worst enemies. There are policies and procedures in place that we need to follow; it starts with us. The only way to fix a problem is to bring it out on the floor and openly discuss it respectfully. We need to have respect for one another, agree to disagree, stop beating around the bush and deal with it. The depot masters are part of this union but sometimes they forget and think they are untouchable. But he is not just singling them out. We can all talk about buses passing each other on Market St. or cutting each other off. Until we address these issues we will keep coming to union meetings and not settling anything; we cannot blame NJ Transit for it.
Brother Patrick Paul said that if there are any problems with the bus, such as the safety shields, write it up and start the paper trail. Do not just mark “ok” because you do not want to take an extra minute or two to write the problem on the defect card.
Brother Marvin Taylor said that some of the retirees are asking about the hiring freeze. President Knestaut said that there still is a hiring freeze on hiring back retirees as part-time bus operators but suggested that retirees still apply to come back part-time. The union is going to address this issue soon.
A member said that he is waiting for his second step hearing. President Knestaut said that he will get a date soon and call him.
A member said that he is not pointing fingers but the inside of the buses are not being cleaned properly. President Knestaut said to write it on the defect card but when NJT has extra cleaners they will assign them special cleaning projects on the buses.
A member said that the cabin air cleaners are very dirty and the traps and vents also need cleaning on the MCI’s. What is the long-term effect of breathing in this dirty air? President Knestaut said to report the bus numbers with dirty filters to the union hall.
Adjourn: A motion to adjourn was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Sister Deletha Carstarphen. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Note: The next general membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Hope to see you there.