Business Agent Report November 2020
By Debi Humann
November 18, 2020
Similarly, to many American workers, I continue to work from home in compliance with various orders and in an attempt to not be a “super spreader”. I represent twelve (12) contracts and if I were to do my job as I would normally (going from employer to employer for meetings), my ability to become infected with COVID-19, and/or spread it, is significant. So, in an ongoing effort to not contribute to the germ pool, I do as much as possible from home base.
The majority of the day-to-day issues are handled on the phone or via zoom meetings. This is far from ideal as seeing people face-to-face is an important part of the Business Agent job but, right now, this is what has to happen in order to safeguard the community.
Much of my time, as you can imagine, is “weighing in” on the shifting and changing practices that employers and employees are creating in order to work around the dangers of the global pandemic while attempting to get THEIR work done. The discussions continue as new ideas come up that may conflict with contract language or have a negative impact on the employees I represent.
Additionally, seven (7) of my twelve (12) contracts expire on or about December 31, 2020, which means that I am doing zoom “demands” meetings and sending out surveys to the memberships to find out what the critical components of upcoming negotiations are for each person. This is a critical part of negotiations planning. Once all the meetings and surveys are completed, I will work with the shop stewards at each employer to finalize the Union’s initial proposals and will then begin bargaining. It is important to note that many of my public employers have already put me on notice that they are running at a budgetary deficit due to the pandemic. This may prove to make bargaining difficult for many, however, the Union bargaining teams are experienced and will work hard to get the best contracts possible for their memberships.
As to grievances so far this year, I have had 15 grievances filed. Of those 15, to-date, six remain open (the remainder were resolved with the employers) with several of those moving to mediation. For comparison purposes, total grievances filed by my groups in 2019 equaled 37; and in 2018 my groups filed 25 grievances.
While we are all aware of how the pandemic is affecting our first responders (including grocery workers, law enforcement, Public Works employees, front counter folks, and many more), I again ask that each of you send good thoughts to the funeral home workers. These folks are dealing not only with family members who have passed and are actively infectious but also with their grieving family members. Let’s all send our best wishes to these unsung Teamsters members.
Let’s all hang together, wear our masks, and Stay Teamsters Strong!