Your Voice, Your Choice
OPEIU Local 39
November 2016
Thank Goodness That's Over

The most contentious election in decades is finally over. Or is it? As citizens, we don't participate in democracy just when elections are held. It's up to us to make sure that those elected represent ALL of us, whether we voted for them or not. We discuss some ways each of us can impact the political process beyond the voting booth below.

There is also a Quarterly Membership Meeting this week! We'll discuss the proposed merger with Local 95 so if you have questions, this would be your chance.

We Voted. Now What?
Last week we were all pelted with constant reminders to vote. On TV, the radio, Facebook, Google, even your Union sent you reminders to vote.

But our role in our democracy doesn't end with the ballot box. We vote for people to represent us but we can't hold them accountable just every two, four, or six years. For our democracy to thrive, there's more than voting that we have to do.

There are three simple things that we can all do to protect our interests, our rights, and our democracy. These are best when all taken together and it really doesn't take that much time.

Don't be a "low information voter." This doesn't mean spending hours each day researching a dozen issues but it does mean paying attention more than once every four years and to more than just that ONE THING. What politicians do can radically impact workers (think Act 10 and so-called "Right to Work"), so you might want to consider following the AFL-CIO blog or other Union or labor-friendly blogs. Also, most of our elected representatives have newsletters that they send out. Get on their mailing list, even if you didn't vote for them (maybe especially if you didn't vote for them). Keep aware of what they think is important and how they stand so that nothing comes as a surprise on voting day -- or worse, the day after!
Ours is a representative democracy, but we really can't just leave it to the elected representatives. Keep them honest. Most every representative, whether at the local, state, or federal level, has a web page you can bookmark and an email address you can use. They have office phone numbers. When there is an issue you feel strongly about, let your elected representative know your opinion. Call, email, send a letter. You don't have to be engaged on every single issue, but on those that are important to you, stand up and be counted. Politicians do pay attention. It may not change their minds, but they will know how you, their constituent, feels.

Vote more often than once every four years! There are major elections at least every TWO years in Wisconsin. We had four separate elections this year alone! Our governor is elected in non-presidential or "off" years when turn out tends to be lower. There is no reason for that! Your vote means as much -- if not more -- when voting for the local school board as it does for the President.

Even though the labor-friendly candidates didn't win that doesn't mean we should disengage and wait around for four years. Stay engaged, let the politicians know you're engaged, and show up at the polls every single time. That's how our democracy stays strong.

Held at the Union Office

This is the IBEW Union Building: 701 Watson Ave, Madison WI 53713

We meet in the conference room one floor up from our Local's offices.

PS - Membership Meeting THIS Week!
The Union succeeds through everyone's efforts. This is another way you can stay involved in democracy! Please join us this week, November 16th at 5:30 PM.

  • Unit Updates
  • Financial Updates
  • Update on Merger with Local 95
  • Executive Board Nominations / Election

Positions up for election this year are:

  • President
  • Recording Secretary
  • Trustee 2
  • Trustee 3
Other News Around the Union
Union Fish
OPEIU and management began contract negotiations with the employer on 10/25/2016.  We are using Interest Based bargaining which allows each party to put forth their interests and concerns and then to jointly find options that both parties can agree upon.

Our first “interest” is healthcare which is a joint interest of each party.  We have had five negotiation sessions focusing on healthcare.  We meet again on November 15th.
CUNA Mutual Group
The members at CUNA Mutual Group are once again suffering through the employer’s reorganization of the company. The basis for the reorganization, according to the company, is to reduce the cost of their products. This is on the heels of another banner year in profits for the employer.
The company has not been forthcoming with their reorganization plans with Union leadership or members. We anticipate layoffs for members but do not know in advance which departments will be affected or when.

Union leadership is dedicated to our members in helping them transition through the changes at CMG. As we learn of the company’s reorganization plans we will pass the information onto members.
VERSO Corporation

OPEIU members at Verso Corporation began contract negotiations on the Master Agreement on October 16th. Negotiations lasted only 3 days when talks came to a standstill. OPEIU is bargaining the Master Agreement with other Unions at the Verso Corporation Wisconsin Rapids mill in addition to unions from across the county who fall under the Master Agreement.

The employer’s primary financial issues are double time pay, Sunday pay, and pyramiding pay for employees. Our member’s concerns are maintaining a wage package that keeps pace with the cost of living, is competitive, and keeps healthcare affordable.

At this time it is unknown when management and the Unions will meet again. OPEIU contract does not expire until 2018 with the Master Agreement extended through 2018 as well
Aspirus Hospital
OPEIU members began contract negotiations on October 31st. The employer presented the Union with a proposal that included increases to healthcare and significant changes to PTO. Much like our brother’s and sister’s at Verso Corporation the Union’s proposal to the company included a wage package that keeps pace with the cost of living, competitive and keeps healthcare affordable. OPEIU and management do not meet again until December.
Bull's Eye Credit Union
Contract negotiations will begin on December 7th. Much like our other units, maintaining a healthy wage package that keeps pace with the cost of living and affordable healthcare will be our primary goals.
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 16th, 2016

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