How Will I Make It Happen?
There are several tasks at the top of my list, when elected Business Manager. Some of the most pressing issues I will address are:
1. Democratic Rights
A Union, at its core, should be an example of Democracy. It is time the Member’s voices are heard. Union Members will be informed, included and shall vote for any changes that are made to agreements. Members will always have a vote! Members must be kept up to date and informed about our Local. To do this, we will look at monthly meeting times, locations and accessibility. Also, embracing technology to have constant communication with the Membership. Membership engagement is critical to the renewal of our Local.
2. A Functioning and Fair Dispatch System
As Business Manager, I will with the support of the Membership, make sure that the Union has a real and functioning dispatch system. I feel this is a necessity and something that cannot be overlooked. This Union is not a job placement agency, where employers pick and choose Members, while others sit on the board for months. The Operating Engineers Local 955 is a proud Trades Union that will be able to dispatch competent and qualified Union Members in a timely fashion, to our signatory contractors. Our signatory contractors will comply with the dispatch rules and procedures written into our Collective Agreements. They will be forced, if necessary, to accept qualified Union Members dispatched to them as per the Collective Agreements. The Union spent considerable resources through arbitration to protect the dispatch procedures and the Union will enforce those decisions.
3. Protection of Pension / Health and Wellness Plans
Currently, our Health and Wellness Program is operating at a loss and is not sustainable without changes to the present funding. With the support of the Membership, we will work to make sure that our Pension and Health and Wellness Plans are truly 100% funded, while also being managed and invested responsibly. Employer contributions will be increased at every opportunity through collective bargaining. This will increase our ability to cover more medical, dental, and vision expenses that our Membership incurs. I will safeguard the Pension Plan, making sure that all pension promises are met without exception, for our current and future retirees. The best possible beneﬁts and services will be provided to the Union Membership and a review of the services provided by Claim Secure will take place immediately.
4. Positive Returns on Investments
I understand that Members want to see a return on investments made through our Pension Plan and the Union. With the support of the Membership, I plan to audit the investments in the old Fort McMurray Union Hall, the unfinished building in Fort McMurray, the parcel of land in West Edmonton and the H&W leased office space. These properties are currently providing zero return and are actually costing the Pension Plan and the Union money. I feel that letting these buildings fall into disrepair, and not seeing the new property through to completion, is unacceptable. The current Business Manager has not taken action on these issues, and that needs to change. I will be that change.
By bringing an Organizing strategic plan forward and ensuring it is implemented immediately, we will take back our market share. We were sold a Union dues increase to hire a team of organizers. But what has come of the investment? When elected, we will hire more organizers immediately. We must also use all available help and resources that the International has to offer, or in collaboration with our affiliated trades Unions, no help should be turned down. We need to grow this team so that we can maintain our wages, benefits, and working conditions. This is the only way to guarantee industry leading Collective Agreements for the Union’s Membership.
6. Defending Our Work
As Business Manager, the priority is to keep our Union jurisdiction. Decisions of Record will be enforced. The Jurisdictional Assignment Plan is legislation that must be followed. If other Unions attempt to take work from the Operating Engineers, then Local 955 has a duty to fight back. We are willing to fight that fight. Pre-jobs and mark ups will be examined carefully so that our signatory contactors are following the rules and all decisions of record.
7. Being More Vocal
The Operating Engineers Local 955 needs to be heard as an entire Union. I want to see us continue to support the Union Movement through the Building Trades of Alberta. However, political action only through the Building Trades of Alberta isn’t enough. We need to do more to make sure Local 955 is being heard when we need to be heard. I want to get these conversations started, and grow our voice within the Union community.
8. Training for the Future, Learning from Others
Lastly, I plan to ensure that Business Agents, Organizers and Job Stewards receive the best training possible so they can provide the best representation possible. I believe every staff member should be required to continuously train in all fields. This way, every Union Member is fairly represented. We must reach out to our sister locals to learn from them. Some locals have maintained strong Union benefits through prolonged downturns without racing to the bottom.
If the above resonates with you, and my platform is the type of leadership you are looking for, I ask that you elect me as your Business Manager for Local 955.
To donate to our campaign and help further our success, please visit my website. If you are interested in stickers or other support materials, feel free to send an email and we will get you the items you need.
Remember, this isn’t just a campaign…
it’s a Union movement!
I look forward to representing you in the future.
In Solidarity, Chris Flett