Hopefully as this newsletter hits your mailbox, the weather has improved to a normal spring/summer temperature and you’re getting the opportunity to enjoy it.
A few months back I had the opportunity to speak to a member who was at the Painters District Council as part of an investigation into allegations made about one member against another. Although I wasn’t involved in the investigation I stopped to talk to this member about work, home life and things in general. During that conversation he made a statement that there was only one or two people who cared about the members. Obviously, I corrected him immediately telling him how that was untrue and how the District Council works hard to represent and defend all the members. Since that conversation it has bothered me that we have members who may truly believe that.
I want all our members to know that if you are a member of this union, we will always do our best to protect you. Whether it’s for wages or benefits owed to you, sexual harassment, racial discrimination or job site abuse we are here for you. We even offer members a free counseling service for more personal issues. I cannot guarantee 100% success on every case, but I can guarantee 100% failure if you do not inform us about a work related problem. A couple of key points to remember is to bring up any problems in a timely manner. The longer a situation is not addressed the harder it is to get it corrected. Cases can be corrected with total anonymity please have proof, documentation, and witnesses. If we have no solid proof, we cannot take it to a court of law.
It matters not if you attend union meetings, (although we encourage you to) or utilize our picnics, STAR classes, or volunteer for charity projects. Nor will it matter if you’re a Drywall Taper, a Painter, a Glazier, a Wood Finisher, Metal Polisher, Sign Painter, or Industrial Worker.
I promise you this . . . We are here to enforce our contracts and protect our membership Period.
John Spiros Jr.
Dear Labor Leader,
Last summer our union, UNITEHERE Local 1, went on strike at 26 hotels. As a leader I learned many lessons. I learned that a strike changes everything, and quickly. I learned that a strike binds our members together like nothing else ever will And I learned even more about what a wonderful labor movement we have in Chicago.
So many union members and leaders picketed, offered Union halls for negotiations, lent us rats, spoke at rallies, marched with us… it changed our Union forever. However, there was one story that I thought had not been told, and that was how members of other Unions respected the picket lines.
During the strike I spoke with Union members and their leaders, and I’d heard some stories of other Unions respecting our strike. But in order to teach our members what the Union really is in this city, we decided to make a video. We wanted to interview members from other Unions who worked at the same hotels who had respected our strike lines.
We reached out to many of you and scheduled as many interviews as possible. Unfortunately, it was impossible to schedule and include everyone.
Our friend Richie Ross produced the video, conducted the interviews, oversaw the editing, and took extra care on this project. There are so many things I could say, but I want the video to say them to you.
This is a Chicago story, a Union story, and if I used a word or words besides solidarity (which sometimes feels overused) I’d says it’s a believe in something/stick together/love story.
Thank you for all you do.
Letter From The Business Manager / Secretary Treasurer:
As you read the pages in this newsletter you will notice a lot of changes in your District Council. New retiree’s from among our own Business Representatives, and the hiring of new organizers and Field Representatives, who bring some new ideas and assertiveness on board. The New Wages and Benefit packages for the different trades, under our jurisdiction, the fight against the non-union contractors and the political action to support those politicians who support working people. All this is to inform our members how we are diligently working for them.
First, I would like to wish on behalf of all our membership to the retiring Business Representatives“a long fruitful retirement”. Glazier Business Representative Mike O’Donnell is retiring along with Painters Representative Ron Haftl. These are two of the hardest working Business Representative in our District Council’s history. Each with their own style of getting the job done. They have served the membership proudly influencing many of their members lives. You will see a brief history of them in this publication.
I want to say welcome aboard to our New Field Representatives, Ken Kazaitis, of Local 830, who will be working with the sign painters, wood finishers, and metal polishers. Steve Mabus who will be working for Glaziers Local 27 covering Mike O’Donnell’s old area, and Dan Granadon, of Local 194, will be covering Ron Haftl’s area. It has always been a rule of thumb that it takes 5 years to learn these jobs and they are well on their way to that end.
You will also see some scary changes coming from the courts that have the potential to weaken labor unions and working people in general. Although we have beaten back “Right to work for less” laws in the state of Illinois, Governor Rauner and his cronies have funded a court challenge that has now gone to the supreme court. Funding this appeal to the Supreme Court is an anti-union think tank set up along with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to push the governor’s non-union agenda even though he has failed numerous attempts at the state level to gut unions. Janus vs AFSCME was decided by this right-wing Supreme court with a decision that basically says that no you don’t have to pay for any union dues will cause a negative impact on service unions and open the door for more anti-union legislation in the future. This even though a previous supreme court decision in the mid-seventies said that employees working for a public entity such as a city, state or county whether union or non-union must pay their “fair share” dues if they benefit from union contract negotiations and grievance privileges. This does not force anyone to join the union and never has. It only requires them to pay for the services rendered by the union. I relate this to someone who is a member of a gym, golf course, country club etc.— uses their facilities but refuses to pay any fees for that use? That’s ridiculous and so is Janus vs AFSCME. The bottom line is that eventually the lack of revenue would force any business (union) out of business and that’s the underlining purpose of this decision. If you have any doubts about this being a setup, Mark Janus who was a state employee and who’s name appears on the court document and who was so concerned about paying dues, less than a month later has quit his job with the state and now works for a conservative think tank. NO SURPRISE . . .
ON A POSITIVE NOTE
After our last newsletter polling on the question of increasing the amount put into deferred savings with recommendations on how much. The response was overwhelming with the poll results at about 100 to 1 favoring to increase the deferred savings $1.00 per hour. This doubles the amount paid from your check on your behalf to $2.00 per hour. You will see some on that on your December 1st, 2019 checks. Deferred savings money paid in from April 1, thru March 31st is paid out the following December. This only applies to the Painters and Tapers contract.
Built to last
A television show that airs on ABC Channel 7 Sundays at 11:30 a.m. showcases the workmanship of union trades. The shows that will highlight Painters District Council #14 and our Union members first aired on Sunday June 10th and June 17th. These full episodes can be seen online at www.Builttolast.com. They include volunteer work done at Dusable Museum, Joliet Prison, and a spot highlighting how the union has impacted a young pro baseball prospect Juan Arzate’s life.
WPCT radio station 820
A month or so back, I along with Miles Beatty from the Finishing Contractors Association (FCA) had the opportunity to sit on a panel on the Ben Joravsky show to discuss the areas of agreement for management and labor. This turned out to be a fun event where we could talk candidly about our concerns and potential going forward. It also gave us an opportunity to highlight the Star program, Market recovery initiative, the Benefits and pension that our members receive. Also, to update the audience on our on-going problems with a sub-contractor who does work for the CTA named “Intersection”. They are now in negotiations with DC 14 for a contract after forcing them and winning a 95% yes vote from their workers to become union thru a Department of labor election.
New Pension calculation formula
The Painters and Tapers pension fund has approved a fairer and self-improving pension calculator for determining your pension. As you saw on your last communication from the fund all but a few, received an increase to their pension for all years going forward. Those who didn’t receive an increase that was because they were not paying a sufficient amount into the fund for what they received back. This new calculation formula will also give our members an automatic increase going forward each time there is an increase contribution to the pension fund. It will not increase the pensions going backwards for past years of service. All in all, this is a great benefit change for Painters, Tapers and Wood Finishers
New benefit for all our card-carrying members
We have negotiated a new benefit for ALL members who hold a DC 14 union card. Northwestern Hospital will provide 6 counseling sessions free of charge for members and their families. The HOT LINE number is 888-933-1327 where your family can call for assistance. Some of the assistance offered will be for Depression, Drug abuse, Debt reconciliation and a multitude of other problems that our members face every day. These counselors will direct you to the right people for help whether you are covered with our insurance or not. More info will be available and will be sent to you soon.
Glaziers Local 27
Congratulations to the members of Local 27 who have secured a new contract that ensures steady wage growth and secure pension and welfare for years to come. The yearly break down will be $2.55 for the first year, $2.50 the second year, and $2.50 in the third year. There will be no language changes to the base contract.
John Spiros Jr.