Your Voice, Your Choice
OPEIU Local 39
October 2016
So Much Going On

Without a doubt there is much going on as October moves into November. Our members at CMFG continue to feel under attack, and the most important test of our democracy in several decades happens early in November.

There is also lots of Member news, including a merger to inform you about as well as much more.

All that is below. Let's get to it.

Are You Ready?

The Presidential election occurs on November 8th, which is actually the SECOND Tuesday of the month.

  • The AFL-CIO has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President and Russ Feingold for Senate. If you're not yet sure, they are.
  • There is no such thing as a "protest vote." There are three ways you can approach the vote: You are with Hillary Clinton (and labor), you are with Donald Trump, or you are okay with everyone else deciding your fate. There are no other options.
  • Every member of the State Assembly and the US House of Representatives is up for election, as well as one WI Senator. It's vital that we get out to vote for more than just the President. Down ticket is where the most political work gets done. The AFL-CIO has endorsements for those seats, too.

It is Not Up to Us to Fix Bad
Management Decisions

Back in the day of the assembly line, it was called "the speedup." Management would increase the speed on the line, making everyone work harder and harder. If you didn't keep up, management said it was YOUR fault.

Most of us don't work on an assembly line but we're feeling The Great Speedup just the same. This is a tactic as old as employers but we don't call it what it is anymore. We call it "doing more with less" or "a lean workplace" and it comes in response to a bad economy or perhaps just because management wants to declare a "crisis" and lay off workers and freeze hiring.

So we work harder to make up for all the people who are no longer with us. We work nights and weekends. We work even though we've called in sick or taken a hard-earned vacation day. All that work takes a toll on us and our families, but hey. We have to "do more with less" right?

We all feel the pressure from the increasing amount work that needs to be done. But we aren't the ones who decided to let go of good, productive workers and we're not the ones who refuse to hire replacements.

If you feel the pressure to work all those hours coming from within, what it means is that you're a conscientious employee who wants to do good work. You want the Company to succeed. You want to help pitch in and get everyone through the crisis, or more recently, the "crisis" that management has declared.

But those extra hours are actually NOT helping. In order to run the Company well, management needs to have accurate data. How many people does it take to get the job done? If you work through lunches and put in a few hours in the evening or weekend, you are skewing the information that management needs to do their job. If you do the work of two people, then management won't know that they need two people to do the job. What happens when you get tired of never talking to your kids or seeing the latest movie? Management will be caught flat-footed when you stop putting in those extra hours -- or worse, they'll think that now you're slacking off!

If you feel the pressure to work all those hours coming from your management, then they are out of line. They are trying to get you to play into the "speedup" and they are stealing from you. They are stealing your time off, your time with your family, and time for yourself.

We've heard from members who work nearly every weekend, who feel the pressure to "get the job done" and so put in hours even when they are on vacation. This is wrong and it needs to stop. Management has made the decision to get rid of people or not hire the workers needed to do the work properly. It is on them to face what that means: uncompleted work. It is on them -- not us -- to make up for the decisions of the executives. It is up to us to do good work during our scheduled work hours AND THEN STOP. We help no one -- not management and not ourselves -- if we succumb to pressure from management to give up our precious time off.

"But I'll get written up!" I hear you saying. If you are threatened with disciplinary actions because you refuse to go along with the "speedup" contact the Union immediately. The Company can not ask you to routinely work beyond your negotiated hours or refuse to allow you to take off your negotiated vacation or sick days. If they threaten it, contact your Chief Steward or our Business Agent. We'll ensure that the Company doesn't get away with "turning up the assembly line."

Other News Around the Local
Potential Merger with Local 95

OPEIU Local 95, located in the Wisconsin Rapids area, is contemplating a merger with our Local 39. Since May we have been providing them with administrative activities, representation help on negotiations, and other services.

Local 95 was hit hard by consolidations in the paper industry as well as by Act 10. For our part, it will help us leverage a presence in other industries and provide a larger membership base. Whether a merger is completed will be put to a Membership vote in the near future.
Catalyst Paper Operations United Way Campaign
Catalyst Paper Operations United Way campaign is underway in Biron WI. Members from Local 95 donated their time and baked goodies at a Bake Sale in September and in October, several members assisted with a Company Luncheon and Raffle.
First image: pictured from left to right are:  Denise Nicholson, Betsy Emmes - committee member, Donna McMahon
Second image: pictured from left to right are: Dianne Quinne, Denise Nicholson, Heidi Hammitt and Lynn Meshak

Divided We Fall documentary

"A new film about the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising, Divided We Fall, will be screened at the Sundance theater in Madison on Thursday, October 20th at 7 p.m....

"The first film to take a critical look at the 2011 Uprising, Divided We Fall, traces the genesis of the historic capitol occupation and weeks-long protests from the perspective of graduate teaching assistants at the center of the action."

For more information, click here.

For a sneak peak, click here.

Artful Negotiations

"Join us for a show of Art by Workers, about Workers, for Workers.

"There will be appetizers and refreshments, including beer, wine, & Union-made lemonade, as well as live music at Threshold Art Gallery! We hold a raffle and feature a silent auction with art for all budgets!

"All proceeds will go to SCFL’s scholarship fund, which helps Union members and their children continue their education after high school."

Buy your tickets online at
WLHS Offers Three Contests for Students

The Wisconsin Labor History Society is offering three contests for middle and high school students.

  • Labor History Essay Contest for high school students with prizes of $100-$500
  • National History Day for middle and high school students with a total of $1000 in prizes
  • Zeidler Academic Awards for college students for best papers on Wisconsin labor history.

There is much more information on the contests found here.

Membership meetings are held the third Wednesday of the second month of the quarter, at 5:30 PM in the Union Office.

November 16, 2016
February 15th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
August 17th, 2017

This is your Union. Your participation gives us the strength to face the continued opposition of both companies and politicians.
Unions = Gym Membership
Know Your Weingarten Rights!
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to request union representation during investigatory interviews by supervisors, security personal, and other managerial staff.  These are called Weingarten Rights.
An investigatory interview occurs if 1) management questions you to obtain information; and 2) you have reasonable apprehension that your answers could be used as a basis for discipline or other adverse action.
You must ask for union representation either before or during an investigatory interview.  Management does not have to remind you of this right.  If your request is refused and Management continues asking questions, you may refuse to answer.  Your employer is guilty of an unfair labor practice and charges may be filed.  If you are questioned in a situation where Weingarten may apply, read or present this statement:

"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion."
Local 39 Union Offices
701 Watson Ave
Ste 102
Madison WI 53713
If you have any news you would like to share with other Members, please let us know! You can contact us via email or on our Facebook page.