Issues

Home/Issues
Issues 2017-12-13T17:32:16+00:00

As your Financial Secretary/ Treasurer:

The General Fund is being rapidly depleted. We have been told the Local has full employment for months and asked the retirees to help us man jobs by coming back to work without losing their pensions. The current administration is spending $54,000/month more than our income (January 2016 – August 2017 cash sheets with the UA per cap of $98,588 average for 2017 included). We must regain control of our spending. I will review all expenses including the number of employees, income, and liabilities to set a budget for the year. This budget will help guide us to financial stability.

Industry Advancement Fund

This fund was created to target jobs by varying our wages. This important tool gives us a huge return on our investment. I will show our membership the returns that this fund generates. There is no other place we can invest our money that can give us these types of returns. It is a very successful tool for organizing and keeping the non-union competition bidding jobs for what they think they can do the job for, rather than slightly underbidding our public wage rate, this cuts the non-union’s profits.

I will run this fund the way it was proposed. These excerpts are from the original resolution for the Industry Advancement Program from our Executive Board, proposed October 13th, 1989. This section has been largely ignored by this administration with a couple of partial reports given to the executive board near the last election.

“4. That the United Association Local No. 290 Industrial Advancement Program shall be administered by the Business Manager under the general supervision of the Executive Board.

5. That the Business Manager shall make a quarterly report of the United Association Local No. 290 Industry Advancement Program, including an accounting of its assets, number of jobs targeted, and man-hours worked under the United Association Local 290 Industry Advancement Program to the Executive Board AND to the membership.”

I pledge to run this program the way that the original authors intended and spelled out, thereby keeping the Executive Board and the membership informed of this vital program.

13th Check & Pension Benefit Increases

  • This is a great show of support by the active members. This gift is from a 49 cent per hour pension contribution. I support the members decision.
  • This gift will help our retirees who have not had a 13th check since 2000.
  • The pension plan is coming back nicely from the challenges of capitol consultants losses and the financial collapse of 2008.
  • We need to build a surplus to cushion future downturns.
  • I support using future pension surplus to fund a full 13th check along with back filling the amount per 1000 for the active members.
  • The pension plan is performing very well due to the decisions made by your trustees. With your support we made this pension comeback a reality.
  • I will support a continued increase of the amount /1000 with money from our raises until the fund can provide them.

Organizing

We must Organize because it is essential to our long-term survival and for us as a Local Union to thrive!

We must use all the tools to put pressure on the non-union contractors. The non-union workers are our future brothers and sisters when we organize. We need to reach out to them showing the better life possible through our union like the best benefits, the best training, the best safety and the best wages.

We will use top down and bottom up and anywhere in between to organize the men and women that work non-union in our trade.

Discrimination

Discrimination has no place in our local union. All members, brothers and sisters, must be treated the way we pledge to do when the president opens our meetings, “…treat your brothers and sisters with the same consideration you desire to receive yourselves.”

Discrimination can take many forms: military service, physical impairment, racial, sexual, age, national origin, or religion. We have faced, and are currently facing, numerous lawsuits around these issues. We, as a Local, need to take a strong stand against all forms of discrimination.

When elected, I will appoint a committee of interested members to bring a Constitution and Bylaws resolution about discrimination to the body. We need to make sure all of our members feel welcome and supported by our membership.

Membership Involvement

I will form a committee of interested members to look at ways to increase membership involvement.

The success of the retiree wellness program could be used as a model to generate more active member participation.

We also need to update and improve our remote communication system. We regularly experience difficulty hearing or communicating during these meetings. This can be very frustrating. I want to see this system work well enough to allow officers to attend area meetings and participate from all locations. This interaction will help more members to see, meet, interact with their officers and other members. This will also improve the classroom experience for our journeymen training and apprenticeship classes conducted on the remote communication.

I will reach out to our members with a regular newsletter available through direct email, the web site or by regular mail.

Our website needs to be updated so it is more user friendly. More of our members would use it if it was easier to log in and be recognized as a past user. The site has not been regularly updated with new information regarding new Executive Board members or election committee members. In addition, the new election rules that apply at anyone running for office including the JATC “Training Center Rules Regarding Conduct and Access to Premises” concerning campaigning dated 7/5/17, the current Election Committee Rules dated August 18th, 2017, recent letters to the membership including the notice of nominations, have not been posted as of October 19th 2017.

I propose to have at least yearly membership meetings with our Local trusts including the JATC so you can share your concerns with the trustees and the trustees can share the challenges we face to better serve you our members.

To make this Local better we need your input and support!

Apprenticeship / Training

Lost Confidence:

There are many apprentices and new journeymen who have lost confidence in our program because they were unfairly treated during their time as an apprentice. Many promises were made and broken by the JATC under the current administration. The apprentices had their Agreements unilaterally changed to require more classes on their own time to graduate. Sixteen Week Weld Program participants had to retain a Lawyer to get the JATC to partially honor the agreement they had to sign for entry into the program. The VIP program has not lived up to the promises made to our veterans by changing rules and not giving credit where it was due. We are experiencing a law suits over discrimination and had multiple sexual harassment complaints in the class rooms during the former director’s time which were not addressed quickly or adequately and were only seriously addressed latter when the JATC Chair was involved. The constant upheaval disenfranchised our newest members. Many instructors were disheartened and left frustrated by their experience. We must learn from mistakes that were made so that they are not repeated and we must restore confidence in our program for our future generations. I will encourage these affected members to get involved and help restore our program so it earns the respect of being the best training program that truly cares about the apprentice’s success!

Area Training Centers:

The Area Coordinator is usually a person from that area who make sure the needs of the Apprentices, Instructors and Journeymen are met. Having a part time Area Coordinator able to make sure all the needs are met for the area schools is critical. Having three Assistant Coordinators in Portland is not going to be enough to provide the service we need. Look at the numbers. We have about 375 apprentices and 55 instructors and numerous journeyman classes held in 6 Training Center locations. Do you think you can run 1 large and 5 smaller jobs with around 425 Apprentices and Instructors plus Journeyman classes across our jurisdiction with 3 supervisors?  I was an area Agent for 8 ½ years during that time and I observed the work area coordinators did. I also had to assume the area coordinator’s job for several months in between coordinators. I can tell you from my personal experience that local coordinators are needed for three reasons:

  1. The Area Coordinator makes sure the Instructors, Students and Journeyman have things they need because the Coordinator is available in the area – no call to Tualatin to buy supplies and bring them down, receive deliveries or get a repair started needing multiple bids and site visits.
  2. The area Coordinator is a member who sees the need and knows the area first hand. They are a very important position giving the Director and the JATC the ability to hear firsthand the needs of the areas in a timely manner.
  3. The knowledge obtained by having the part time coordinators is very useful in the Business agents/Organizers duties in the outlying areas and gives the local area members a familiar face to resolve their issue or advocate for them.

Members want a local face as the person representing and coordinating the local area training centers they don’t want to drive to Tualatin to see someone who most likely knows little about their area. I will ensure that local area coordinators are used to the fullest extent possible so members see local area representation funded by their training dollars.

Weld Shop:

We as a Local need to have a welding program that is best suited for our jurisdiction. We have been without a weld shop foreman since Brother Paul Brown was laid off in August of 2015. I believe we must have a highly regarded welder who has a gift for teaching, shop management skills and have QA/QC experience to lead our welding program back to its proper place leading our industry.

Training Curriculum;

We have spent a large sum of money on a Curriculum for our Training Program and then spent a significant amount more to add our area requirements. I am still hearing many complaints from Instructors. We still need to finish the parts of the curriculum. When I’m elected you will get a full accounting on the cost to date and how much more we will need to spend to get our curriculum up to speed.

Vancouver, SW Washington Area Training Center / Meeting Hall:

When we had a campaign meeting in April 2017 I spoke about the need for a Training Center / Meeting Hall in the Vancouver, SW Washington area. I still believe this should be done. I appreciate Al has found a way to have cost effective area meeting. This area still needs a place we can call our own. I will plan for a Training Center/ Meeting Hall in this area. The members will know a budget and how we will fund this investment and what the ongoing costs would be expected before committing to a finical obligation by a vote at a special membership meeting. I believe the members will see the need when presented with the proposal and will support this new Training Center / Meeting Hall.

To make this Training Program excel we need to listen to our Instructors, Apprentices and recently completed Journeymen and members to learn from their experiences.

Lou’s Promises:

I will do the following:

  • I will return our picnics back to the members, not campaign events by the Business Manager. When Elected, my self and your Agents and Organizers will not campaign at the picnics as the election new rules now state.
  • I will support a continued pension increase of the amount /1000 with money from our raises until the pension fund recovers and can provide them.