Local 3657 is starting the year ready for action. Earlier this month we mailed an annual report to every member’s home, outlining our accomplishments from 2012 and laying out some of our key challenges and priorities for 2013. Some of those key priorities are:
- Starting in as soon as possible, we will be holding regular brown-bag lunches hosted by various committees of our Local giving them an opportunity to give presentations on their work, solicit help in important projects, or facilitate discussions on topics that are important to us.
- We also need to make sure to improve the consistency and reliability of the tools we use to communicate with our members—particularly improving live streaming and posting of updates on our website. The technology is new and we are certainly doing something that no other USW locals are doing, but we need to do a better job to make sure that everyone can count on being able to participate in our meetings every single month.
- There are also provisions of our new contract that we haven’t moved forward yet: We will be approaching the International about opening discussions about creating Flexible Spending Accounts for childcare during our January Human Relations Meeting. To date, no members have utilized the expanded Tuition Assistance and Professional Development program that was established in new contract. Also, no members in Job Classes 13 and above have requested annual assessments to determine whether or not they should be promoted as provided in the new contract.
New Horizons Up and Running
The New Horizons training program is up and running. So far 56 people are signed up for classes and the first round of classes has just finished. There are still some slots available for the third round of trainings in March so if you haven’t registered and you’re interested please contact Jen Pfeifer.
We’ve also received several questions about Resource Technicians and Technicians registering for the classes. The classes are open to everyone so if you’re interested contact Jen. The only caveat is that it’s our position that JC 7 employees who stand to get raises by passing the MOS certification exams should be first in line for seats in the classes, and shouldn’t be displaced by Resource Technicians and Technicians.
We are also in discussions with the International about the next round of New Horizons trainings. We certainly plan to continue trainings throughout April, May and June, but we want to get an idea of how many people are interested in taking classes and what timing and scheduling works best. We’ll be sending out a survey or questionnaire shortly to assess interest and scheduling preferences for future trainings.
Making Meetings More Effective
We’ve been having some discussions about how we can make our Local Union meetings shorter and more effective. We realize that a whole lot of time is taken at the very beginning of local union meetings with the reading of financial reports and minutes and that it’s often 12:50 or later before we get onto the more engaging portions of the meeting—the committee reports and business of the meeting. We’re hoping to make three small changes to speed up the beginning of our meetings and get to action quicker.
First, we’re going to start publishing meeting agendas for everyone so you can see what’s on the agenda and follow along with the meeting process.
Second, we’re going to start consistently gaveling the meeting to order right at 12:30—even if folks are still signing in. If you want to be here for the roll call of the officers, make sure to be here right at 12:30 otherwise we’re staring without you.
Third, we’ve been posting the minutes to the meetings online at www.USWLocal3657.org. Starting at next month’s meeting we’re going to start accepting a motion to “waive the reading of the minutes and accept the minutes as printed and posted.” If there are changes or edits you can get them to Lori ahead of the meeting or raise them as amendments to the motion to accept the minutes. Obviously it’s up to the membership as to whether or not we actually follow through with that new practice but we believe that it’s a step to help make our time together in these meetings more valuable.
Redbrick Wellness Program
After extensive discussions with both 3657 and SRU, the International will be launching a new wellness program in the beginning of February. program is being provided by RedBrick Health, a provider for these types of programs which has had a successful track record with USW members at a number of the companies that we represent.
There are three major components to the program: A confidential online health assessment, health screening, and a series of wellness programs that can help you improve your health. If you and your spouse participate in the first two—the online health assessment and the health screening your healthcare deductible will be waived for 2014 and you’ll receive a $250(individual)/$500(family) contribution to your Health Reimbursement Account. If you or your spouse choose to participate in the additional programs you will each have the opportunity to earn additional $250/year in contributions to your HRA.
To make it easier for everyone to participate there will be a health screening event right in the building on February 15 and 16. The International will provide details on how to schedule an appointment. If you’ve had a physical since October 1, 2012 that included the necessary basic health information, that will count for your screening and you can have your doctor send that information to RedBrick.
Child Care Committee—
During last round of negotiations, the International agreed to the creation of a child care committee to examine feasible actions the International could take to assist employees with young children. That committee will be convening following the launch of the RedBrick Program. If you have ideas or suggestions for that committee to explore, e-mail Lori Bookwood at email@example.com