Local 47 members – On Jan 10, PROTECT YOUR VOICE OR LOSE IT!

Local 47 members – On Jan 10, PROTECT YOUR VOICE OR LOSE IT!

PLEASE SEND THIS TO YOUR ENTIRE E-MAIL LIST and talk to your colleagues at your jobs this week,.. high turnout is critical!

Local 47 Colleagues,

On January 10th, 2005, the union board will try to increase the quorum needed for a membership meeting from 50 to 100. As we who attend a good deal of the membership meetings can attest, it’s often hard to get 50 people to a meeting, unless special interest groups are stacking the meetings for their agenda. If the quorum is increased to 100, the rank and file voice very likely will no longer matter. Without a quorum the board can do whatever it wants without member input.

One might note that in the last year 2 of the 4 meetings were indeed very well attended. The first was the “Let’s not let the entire union vote at home” meeting, where the special interests came out to make sure their influence wasn’t deluded by ALL of us being able to vote from home. If the interest of the board was to truly increase participation by members, this would have been a shoe-in. How the meeting was stacked and the total lack of support of the idea by the board spoke volumes.

The other well-attended meeting was the “Let’s trash Tom Lee (President of the National AFM)” night. The special interest members came from miles around to stand in line and trash Tom Lee, totally shoving Local 47 business to the side.

Their main complaint was the additional tax on Special Payments, which we can all agree is not at all fair or appropriate. They however seemed to be trashing Tom Lee for the variable nature of the tax as well, which is funny since it’s the upper ranks of the RMA that enacted the sliding scale, not the national AFM or Tom Lee. That means if you make $2,500 in Special Payments your tax rate was 5%; If you make $250,000 your tax rate is .5%. Assuming we all agree that the tax is a bad idea, funny how they were trashing Tom Lee for something the administration of the RMA did to it’s own members.

But we digress…

There was a time when the number required for a meeting was 150. The result at that time was having NO membership meetings for 2 years.

This change, if enacted, will benefit only the board (if there is no quorum) or any group that can on a moment’s notice summon 100 of their members to insure that their agenda is passed. Remember, if there is no quorum all issues (except money issues like dues increases) revert to the board for action – taking you completely out of the loop! This is what is at stake.

If you’ve kept up with the happenings at the union lately you know that more and more members are getting angry and voicing their complaints, more and more of the members are fed up with a non-responsive and seemingly useless union for the rank and file.

Read the proposed change for yourself, on Page 15 of the December, 2004 Overture, Article 8, Section 4. In fact read about all the changes, there is much to question here.

The time has come either use your voice at the January 10th, Local 47 meeting or lose it.

Use it or lose it folks, it’s that simple. NOW is the time and perhaps the last chance for quite a while to make the rank and file voice heard, if the board and the special interest groups have their way. Come to the meeting, and demand the removal
of the reference to the amendment proposal re. quorums and keep the language in the bylaws intact. In other words, leave the quorum as it is.

Other info you should know and ask about at this meeting.

In most businesses raises are tied to performance. In fact, even Cost of Living Increases are more rare now, also tied to performance. Hal is asking for a raise of $5,000 ON TOP OF the cost of living increase. The office of the Vice-President and Secretary are also asking for big increases, $4,000 each ON TOP of their cost of living increase. They got a similarly large raise not 2 years ago. What justification is there for such a boost in their pay, especially so close to the previous one?

If we use the same gauge for raises i.e. performance that most companies do, far from getting a raise they might find themselves with a cut. All over the city, performers are having to take wage freezes or cuts in pay. Officers should get no pay increase until the rank and file sees an increase. That would show the union is doing it’s job and deserves such consideration.

Here’s something else you might find interesting: The Salary Review Board was created and charged, as provided in the local 47 bylaws, with reviewing the salaries of the officers and making recommendations to the membership. While there is nothing wrong or inappropriate about any member of the local proposing a change in the bylaws that would raise the salaries of the officers, one should consider that the amendment to raise the dues last year was proposed by the EXECUTIVE BOARD themselves. Besides that the terms of the members of the salary review board had expired, and the bylaws elections for all positions are supposed to be held in July of an election year, so they should have been held 6 months ago.

Here’s something else to ask about. In the current bylaws, if
someone is charged with a violation, and misses their scheduled hearing, the hearing can be rescheduled if good cause can be shown for missing the hearing.

If the proposed change is adopted, there will no longer be excuse provisions in the bylaws. So under the new change, if you are charged and miss your hearing because there was no parking at the local and you had to park across the street and got hit by a truck while you were getting out of your car, you’re Outta Luck, because excuses can no longer be accepted- the provision will have been removed. Not only that- you will be found guilty and accessed the hearing costs for a hearing you could not attend due to reasons not of your making.

One last thing,…

The board wants to remove the requirement of a departmental budget to be replaced by a simple budget for the entire union. This is simply a way to be less accountable.

There is much at stake at the next meeting, January 10th, this coming Monday, 7PM at the union. Come make your voices heard and protect the rank and file voice YOU PAY DUES FOR!

Together we can make this union better for everyone, but only if we become involved.

PLEASE SEND THIS TO YOUR ENTIRE E-MAIL LIST and talk to your colleagues at your jobs this week,.. high turnout is critical!

Thank you for you time, and we’ll see you Monday night!

Committee for a Responsible Local 47

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