Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Officers Present: Officers Excused:
President – Stephen P. Knestaut Delegate – G. Sullivan
Secretary-Treasurer – John Campanella Steward – J. Castor
Vice President – Raymond Cappy Steward – A. Morgan
Delegate – Joseph Romeo Steward – S. Rollins
Delegate – Frank Olive Steward – T.J. Simmons
Steward – Bruce Chew Steward – C. Walton
Steward – Jami Lyles
Steward – Joseph Marks
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 Harold Dix, a pensioner who passed away; Brother Fred Daum, a pensioner who passed away; Brother Mark Scott, an active member who passed away; Brother Joseph Streater, whose father passed away; Brother Michael Schultz, whose mother passed away; Brother Peter Owusu, whose mother passed away; Assistant Supervisor Richard Horton, who passed away; Brother Mike O’Connor, a recent retiree who is very ill; 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 February’s minutes was made by Brother William Martynek and seconded by Brother James Hannon. 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 February, was made by Brother William Martynek and seconded by Sister Jami Lyles. Motion passed.
Arbitration Cases: President Knestaut explained that there are two arbitration cases that the Executive Board voted in favor of taking to arbitration because these cases were determined to be contract violations. The first case was where a bus operator was due to be suspended on the 75th day but was out sick at the time. When she returned to work, the company allowed her to work approximately eight days before realizing that she should have been suspended. President Knestaut asked if there were any questions. A member asked if this case should be made a State Council case. President Knestaut said that he wanted the members to vote on this case, and then he will consult with the State Council. A member asked for the president to explain the 75 day issue which he did.
Secretary-Treasurer John Campanella explained to the membership that the reason the two cases were being presented tonight was because the Executive Board determined that they were contract violations and that the Union should take all contract violations to arbitration. If the members voted not to take contract violations to arbitration it would hinder the Local Union’s ability to enforce the contract. The Executive Board wanted to bring these cases to the members, explain why they are contract violations and answer any questions about them. The Union would like the membership to grant authority to the Executive Board to take contract violations directly to arbitration without voting at the general membership meetings as long as the Executive Board agrees that they are contract violations. A motion was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother Louis Rothman to grant the Executive Board the authority to take cases that they deem contract violations directly to arbitration without voting at the general membership meetings. Motion passed without any objections.
President Knestaut said that the next case involves bidding positions in the Electronic Shop. Brother John Campanella briefly explained the issue involving the testing and asked Mechanical Delegate Frank Olive to explain more of the case. Brother Frank Olive explained how the testing procedures have changed for newly posted positions in the Electronics Shop. President Knestaut added to Brother Olive’s explanation and there was some discussion.
New Business: President Knestaut said that he made provisions for South Jersey to be included in the Super Bowl but there were problems with the assigning of the work. President Knestaut explained all the violations of the Super Bowl agreement and said that grievances will be filed. President Knestaut said that he takes partial blame for not checking up on how Newton Ave. will be assigning the work. A member asked what can be done now. President Knestaut said that he wants members paid who should have been assigned the Super Bowl work and wants the Company to stop violating the contract when assigning future extra service to part-time bus operators. President Knestaut said that he asked Delegate Joe Romeo for help with these grievances.
President Knestaut explained that our International Union is holding a training seminar in Chicago and is paying for all travel expenses, but the Local Union will be responsible for wages. Brothers Joe Romeo, Marvin Taylor, Felix Rogers and Frank Olive were chosen to attend. Brother Olive passed his spot on to Brother Timothy Simmons. A member asked about the nature of the training. President Knestaut said that the training was to teach members how to form coalitions with various groups and bus passengers. We need more people on our side regarding mass transportation.
President Knestaut said that International Vice President John Costa asked if Local 880 needs any training for union officers. President Knestaut told IVP Costa that we have two newer shop stewards who need training. Hopefully in the near future we will have some training in the New Jersey area for our union officers.
President Knestaut said that Shop Steward Deletha Carstarphen retired from the Telephone Information Center and he is not going to fill the position due the limited number of members in that department. Members of the Telephone Information Center should call the union hall if they need a shop steward and we will assign someone to handle the issues.
President Knestaut explained that only 7 of 15 members have been paid for their holiday pay grievances. He is still working on this issue.
President Knestaut said that on February 21st he held 24 fourth step cases and on March 7th he held another 26 fourth step cases. Our fourth step cases are now caught up.
President Knestaut said that he is now going through third step requests and if the cases have not been held in over a year, and NJT does not give him dates, he is moving them to the fourth step. He said that he already notified Labor Relations what he is doing and Labor Relations is supposed to give him a date for third step hearings soon.
President Knestaut told members to call the union hall if they want to have their second step hearing held. He will be getting dates from Director Carl Pulaski very soon.
President Knestaut told members that ACBT Supervisor Jim Pellerin called him because he needed a cleaner for the terminal. President Knestaut asked him if he tried calling all the garages for help and was told he did call the garages but no one was available. President Knestaut said that he allowed a ticket agent to work as a cleaner in the ACBT because Jim Pellerin was going to call an outside company to clean or he was going to do it himself. President Knestaut said that he would rather have one of our members doing the work and that he did something that was very abnormal. It will not happen again. President Knestaut said that he spoke with Shop Steward Steve Rollins from EHT. Shop Steward Rollins said that he would compile a list of volunteers to be called if cleaners are needed at the ACBT. Jim Pellerin will call Steve Rollins to fill shifts. President Knestaut said that he needs to get Fred Sack’s approval since they work in EHT. President Knestaut said it will not happen again. Sister Jami Lyles asked if there have been any grievances filed. President Knestaut said that Brother Steve Rollins filed a grievance because he could have worked the shift.
President Knestaut said that NJ Transit has a new Executive Director who has replaced the top two positions in the rail and bus divisions. This issue was discussed further.
President Knestaut opened the floor for questions.
A member asked about the contract. President Knestaut said that we have a verbal proposal from the State and we believe that this is the best we are going to get and explained the proposal. The State Council wants the proposal in writing so the State Council can vote on whether or not to bring it back to the members for a vote. Brother Bruce Chew said that the State also wants us to pay another 1% into the pension plan. President Knestaut said that once everything is in writing, we will have all the information and charts available for the members to make an informed decision. The contract issues were discussed further.
Brother Felix Rogers asked if the Union considered that the grid system proposed for health care premiums could cost the members a lot more down the road. This issue was discussed further.
A member asked if the two extra sick days will count against employees’ attendance records. President Knestaut said that he is not sure and will check on this issue.
A member said that he notified the union of a problem regarding picking work in the Washington Twp. garage and never heard anything back. President Knestaut said that he has been talking with Brothers Brian Parks and Timothy J. Simmons about the issue. He said that he was also told that what is currently occurring is working out to the advantage of some members, but not others. This member said that when a member bids a job, they should work the job. President Knestaut said that he believes he told this member to file a grievance. Another member said that this member cannot file the grievance. President Knestaut said that he is open for suggestions. Brother Bruce Chew gave his thoughts on the situation. This issue was discussed further.
A member said that there is a lot of retaliation and discrimination going on in the Washington Twp. shop. Also, overtime is being given out to members they like. President Knestaut said that he did discuss this issue with this member before.
A member said that there is a problem with a recent bid. President Knestaut said that Delegate Frank Olive objected to the bid, but the Company said that they are still moving forward.
A member said that it used to be that Egg Harbor had all the problems in the shop, now it is Washington Twp. Mechanic A’s should be getting the overtime to work on engines, but management is giving the overtime to repairmen. It appears to be discrimination. Brother John Campanella said that in a few months the Union will be bringing in attorneys to our union meeting, to discuss employment laws, discrimination and harassment. These attorneys are well known in their field. Brother Frank Olive said that we had the same problems some years back in Egg Harbor Twp. with the assigning of the overtime. Now the problem is in Washington Twp. This issue was discussed further.
A member explained that when he was in North Jersey, a top-notch mechanic who was very experienced in engines left because he was not being appreciated by management. Brother John Campanella said that the member thought he was teaching management a lesson, but management does not care about who leaves or about morale.
Brother Conrad Reynolds said that the contract was discussed earlier and was there anything left out. Brother John Campanella said that one of the issues we need to iron-out is how the health care premiums will be calculated for our retirees.
A member asked if the Union is going to file a grievance over the job titles. President Knestaut said that we will do something.
A member said that he does not think it is right that members have to clock-out and lose time to have a grievance over something the Company is doing wrong. President Knestaut said that when it is a Union grievance, the members do not have to be present but when it is a personal grievance, the member must be there.
A member said that some foremen in the Washington Twp. shop are hollering and using profanity when speaking to union members. Brother John Campanella said that each incident has to be reported to the union hall, so we can document the incidents and report them to upper management. This issue was discussed further. (Note: An email was sent after the meeting to Director Bill Nebel regarding the use of profanity by foremen.)
Adjourn: A motion to adjourn was made by Sister Jami Lyles and seconded by Brother William Martynek. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.
Note: The next general membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Hope to see you there.