Post-Impasse Q&A: What Now?

Published on: January 13, 2016

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To All Contra County Bargaining Unit Members:

I am writing to you with respect to the rejection of the Tentative Agreement and its impact. To state the matter simply: what do we do now?

Well, to help, we must all understand the dilemma. To that end, I offer the following Q & A to jumpstart the dialogue.

Question: Now that the Healthcare Re-opener T.A. has been rejected, I am getting a lot of questions about what we do now?

Answer: Well you have asked the real question…what now?

Less than 25% (approximately 400 Members out of a potential 1500+) of our members voted on the Tentative Agreement. Consequently, we don’t have enough support for a strike or even a credible rally! In order to have a chance to win we would need a minimum of 90% of our Members to vote to go on strike. Even then, there is no guarantee that the Union will have a speedy victory. We would need to have a “Power Strike,” or as some have referred to, a “General Strike” to have any semblance of success.

 

Question: What is a “Power Strike”/“General Strike”?

Answer: A “Power Strike” and/or ”General Strike” (mass strike) is a strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labor force in a city, region, or country participates. General strikes and Power Strikes are characterized by the participation of workers in a multitude of workplaces and tend to involve entire communities

 

Question: So, what must we do to get the required amount of support to get to the 90%+ threshold to have a strike?

Answer: We are going to have to organize by getting involved and engaged in our efforts to drive down the cost of healthcare.

 

Question: Many people I’ve talked to want to Strike and believe we should go on Strike immediately. What’s the delay?

Answer: Simply put, we need to get a minimum of 90% of all of our members to say “Yes to Strike” and commit to be active participants in the Strike.  As a Member and/or a Leader in the Union, are you willing to work towards creating that reality? That stated, an important first step is encouraging those that did not vote to vote and/or commit to go on strike. Are you willing to commit your time towards that end? That’s what it is going to take–nothing more and nothing less.

 

Question: What are you going to do get us out of this? What are your thoughts?

Answer: YOU as a Member and/or a Member Leader are the union. As a union we can make strides together, but the union cannot take steps without you or in replacement of you.

We can win this struggle, but we must work at it. I can support you by developing the strategy, plan and resources but I cannot work the plan for you or in replacement of you; it’s up to you to become involved and part of moving the plan forward.

 

Question: At this moment in time, what can we do?

Answer: We must run a Contract Campaign (Comprehensive Campaign).

 

Question: What is a Contract Campaign (Comprehensive Campaign)?

Answer: A Contract Campaign is labor union organizing or a collective bargaining campaign with a heavy focus on research, the use of community coalition-building, publicity and public pressure, political and regulatory pressure, and economic and legal pressure in addition to traditional organizing tactics.

The Contract Campaign (Comprehensive Campaign) is a labor tactic primarily used in the United States, where labor unions lack many of the legal protections accorded their counterparts in the European Community and other regions where unionism is embraced culturally and politically. However, as globalization increases and capital and labor become more mobile, employers outside the U.S. are adopting American union-avoidance tactics, and comprehensive campaigns are becoming more common in Europe and Asia.

 

Question: When do we start the Contract Campaign (Comprehensive Campaign)?

Answer: We need to do several things first:

  1. We need to have a General Membership Meeting (date, time and location shall be mailed to everyone immediately following the January 23, 2016 Local #1 Board of Directors Meeting).
  2. Move the matter to fact-finding (Remember fact-finding is a non-binding full evidentiary hearing). I have done that.
  3. Mobilize our Members to attend the General Membership Meeting to hear the facts and to hear the plan.

Everyone must review the Contract Campaign Module posted on our webpage located at http://www.peu1.org/healthcare

Finally, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

In Solidarity:

Richard E. Boyd

Director of Field Operations

Public Employees Union, Local #1


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