The day the middle class died!!

I have to share this story. It is so true and really hits home for me.

Here is the link  written by Michael Moore

And here is the story….

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only two unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.

Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:

* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.

* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here’s your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.

* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help — or not.

* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can’t leave now, we’re not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.

* You want to go to college? No problem — just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!

* What’s “a raise”? Get back to work and shut up!

And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:

The AFL-CIO.

The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that’s just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers — they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.

Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.

And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything — and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn’t accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.

And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The “masses” did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.

I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, “Give those controllers their jobs back or we’re shutting the country down!”? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.

But we didn’t do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we’re now suffering with had it’s beginning in 1981 (here’s a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).

It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.

When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street’s plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?

Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?

P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:

New ESA – Personal Emergency Leave details

Here is a video that gives details about “Personal Emergency Leave” that applies to casual employees.

Personal Emergency Leave Information Session

Join us for an overview of changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 made by the new Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148). Alison Griggs will host a Facebook Live session on January 29, 2018 at 10 a.m. In particular, Alison will focus on Ontario’s new rules for personal emergency leave. Alison is a provincial specialist in the Employment Practices Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Posted by Ontario At Work on Monday, January 29, 2018

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In Solidarity

Maria Bauer

Congratulations!

I just wanted to thank everyone for taking time on their Sunday to attend the General Membership meeting. We had record numbers in attendance.

The local has a whole new executive and 10 stewards.

It has been an honor and privilege to be your local president for the past four years.

I am still a steward and will continue to represent members. You may still contact me on my cell phone and via email anytime.

This website will be going through some revisions and some pages may not be available until the revisions are completed. Andew Scholarship 2016

In Solidarity,

Maria Bauer

Union Busting

Even though we already have a union,  many of the tactics below are being used daily. Please read the article below carefully and recognize what is going on in your workplace and union functions. They put the workers against each other with the old theory of

” divide and conquer”.

 

What to Expect from your Employer when you Organize

What will my Employer do?

Most employers don’t want their employees to be in a union. Think about it: employers go from having total control to having to share power with workers who stand together. From their perspective, organized workers will cost more money and require that they follow a legally-binding contract, when before they could do it however they wanted.

Usually when employees show interest in organizing a Union, the company responds with an anti-union program. They may begin group meetings to try to scare workers out of signing authorization cards or talking to union representatives. They may also start a “nice” campaign and suddenly become interested in workplace problems and even offer “quick fix” solutions, like raises or improved benefits. Where does their new found concern come from? Their only hope is to discourage you from Union representation.

Prepare yourself!
If you and your co-workers know WHAT TO EXPECT, the employer’s tactics will shine through as what they really are: desperate attempts to keep things the way they are by trying to crush the power of workers unified in the workplace.

Employers will often hire union-busting firms who specialize in scaring workers with misinformation and fear tactics. Here’s what they’ll tell your employer to do. If you anticipate these actions and talk with your co-workers about them before they happen, the employer’s power to scare workers is significantly less.

Union-busting: What’s Legal and What’s Not 
Employers can legally run anti-union campaigns, but there are some things they CANNOT do (see Illegal Employer Behaviors). If your employer takes part in these activities, the union can file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Most employers rely on union-busting consultants to run a campaign to convince you not to form a union. These consultants have a standard “playbook” of tactics they pull out and run time and again. These include:

LETTERS, LETTERS AND MORE LETTERS: The “Union Busters” will write lots of letters during the campaign. Only, they will be signed not by the “Union busters,” but by the company president, facility/company administrators and some well-liked managers and supervisors.

LOVE LETTERSSome letters will say how much the management/administration really appreciates the work employees have done for the facility/company. Some might even admit past mistakes.

THE UGLY UNION LETTERS: Most of the letters will paint an ugly picture of the Union. They want you to think the Union has a lot to hide. They will never give the Union credit for anything it has achieved at other facilities.

SUPERVISOR PRESSURE: The “Union busters” will use supervisors as the front line troops against the Union — delivering letters, informal chats and even speeches prepared by the “Union busters.”

LOVE OFFERINGS: The “Union busters” will tell management to hand out larger than expected wage increases and/or improved benefits. They might even restore lost health insurance benefits, wages, differentials, etc. They might establish or revise employee participation committees. They want to show you that you don’t need a Union to get things done. The point is to convince you that the boss is really a good guy who can be trusted in the future.

A HELPING HAND: The “Union busters” will tell the facility to start correcting problems: Big things and nagging little things will now be fixed. Management will solicit and settle grievances.

LET’S BE PALS: Administrators/Supervisors will be everywhere, walking the floors day and night, setting up spur-of-the-moment meetings so that they can fix what’s on your mind. You might even be invited to lunch!

ONE-ON-ONES: The “Union busters” will have supervisors call employees in for face-to-face discussions about the Union. The supervisors will have been told exactly what to say by the “Union busters.”

MANDATORY MEETINGS: Employees will be required – on paid time while your normal work is piling up – to attend meetings where the administrators/Managers will deliver a speech prepared by the “Union busters.” These meetings will not be intended to be a free and open debate.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: The “Union busters” will try to play one group of employees against another – “disloyal” Union supporters against “loyal pro-company” Union opponents. One department against another, men versus women, etc.

“VOTE NO” COMMITTEE: A committee of concerned employees might be set up to “stand up for” the facility and “against the bullying” tactics of the Union. The committee members will want to save the facility/company from the Union and give management another chance.

SO LONG, IT’S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU: If all else fails, the administrators, personnel director or some other big management type will be forced to resign or be fired. Then, the facility will try to persuade you to give the new administrator/Manager “another chance” to make things better.

Don’t be fooled by these “Union Busting” tactics.
Having a Union at work is YOUR RIGHT!

The definition of “divide and conquer”

Also, divide and govern or rule. Win by getting one’s opponents to fight among themselves. For example, Divide and conquer was once a very successful policy in sub-Saharan Africa. This expression is a translation of the Latin maxim, Divide et impera (“divide and rule”), and began to appear in English about 1600.

Casual Benefits

During the month of January, the employer will calculate the total hours casuals have worked for the year of 2015.

There are two reasons for this. One is to see the casuals who have achieved the 1300 hours and 5 years of service to be eligible for casual benefits. tHE SECOND REASON THEY ARE CALCULATING TOTAL HOURS IS TO REVIEW THE pvr (PERMANENT VACANCY REVIEW)

Recently,  notice has been sent to all stores with the names of the casuals who have qualified for benefits. The employer will ask you if you want to opt in for the benefits or not. Once you sign that you would like the benefits, they will then send out a form to the stores so you can fill in all your personal information, including beneficiaries.oNCE YOU OPT IN, YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR MIND UNTIL JANUARY 2017.

Here is the article in the collective agreement that speaks of casual benefits.

32.13 Casual Benefit Plan Effective April 1, 2014 casual employees who have worked 1300 hours in the previous calendar year and who have five (5) years of casual seniority may opt into the Casual Benefit Plans under the same benefit plans as full time employees, subject to the following limitations:

Basic Life Insurance- For employees only, in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) shall be provided to Casual employees as defined above.

Dental- for employees and their family, routine (Basic) services as provided under the Manulife Policy # 10055, or its equivalent up to a maximum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) per year per covered person.

Supplementary Health and Hospitalization- only the prescription drug plan will apply.

For the purposes of the Casual Benefit Plan, it is understood that the following articles do not apply to casual employees: 21.1, 21.2 (a) (b) (c)(iii) (d) (e) and (f), 21.3 in its entirety, 21.4 in its entirety, 21.5 in its entirety, 21.7(a) major treatment and three thousand dollars ($3,000) maximum coverage does not apply, and 21.8

 

If this is the first year you qualified, your benefits will begin April 2016.

Before you opt in, there are some things you should think about.

The first thing you should think about is “what will I be covered for?”

Casual benefits are very limited. They are not the same as full time benefits. As you can see above , in the article that speaks of benefits, the COLLECTIVE agreement names many articles that casuals are NOT covered UNDER. It is easier to understand what casuals ARE covered UNDER.

There are 3 things that casual benefits cover for the employee and their DEPENDENTS.

  • $10, 000 basic life insurance (this is if you die your estate or DEPENDENTS will RECEIVE $10, 000)

  • Basic dental of $1000 per year (covers casual employee and dependents of the casual employee)

  • prescription drug plan with some limitations. (FOR CASUALS AND DEPENDENTS)

The other thing to consider is what you will NOT be getting.

If you opt in for the casual benefits, you will loose your 4% pay in lieu of benefits.

Here is the clause in the collective agreement that speaks of the pay in lieu of benefits

32. (b) A casual employee shall receive eight percent (8%) of gross pay, not including vacation pay, which shall be added to his/her regular pay, to compensate for the paid holidays in Article 8 and in lieu of benefits under Article 21. Where, however, a casual employee is in receipt of benefits under Article 32.13, the casual employee shall receive four percent (4%) of gross pay, not including vacation pay, which shall be added to his/her regular pay, to compensate for the paid holidays in Article 8 and will not receive any amount in lieu of benefits under Article 21.

4% pay in lieu of is calculated on your gross pay.

BEFORE YOU OPT IN FOR THE BENEFITS, PLEASE CONSIDER HOW MUCH PAY IN LIEU OF YOU MAY LOOSE. IT MAY BE BENEFICIAL TO NOT OPT IN FOR THE BENEFITS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE NO  OR DO NOT USE MANY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS.

FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOUR GROSS PAY IS $40, 000 TIMES 4 % . YOU WILL LOOSE $1600 PAY IN LIEU.

EVERY YEAR IN JANUARY,  THE NOTICE WILL GO OUT AGAIN. EVERY YEAR YOU WILL HAVE TO QUALIFY WITH THE 1300 HOURS AND 5 YEARS OF SERVICE.  AT THAT POINT, YOU CAN EITHER OPT IN OR OUT OF THE BENEFITS, IF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGED.

IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY ON THE PLAN, YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS RENEW IN JANUARY. THIS MEANS, YOUR $1000 DENTAL WILL START AGAIN IN JANUARY AND NOT APRIL.

IF YOU WERE IN THE PLAN IN 2014, AND DO NOT RENEW THE INSURANCE OR DO NOT QUALIFY IN 2015, YOUR $1000 DENTAL WILL RENEW IN JANUARY 2015 AT $1000 AGAIN, BUT WILL EXPIRE APRIL 2015. THEREFORE YOU WILL HAVE FROM JANUARY UNTIL APRIL 2016 TO USE THE BASIC $1000 DENTAL .

WE HOPE THIS HELPS. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL OR EMAIL US.

IN SOLIDARITY,

MARIA BAUER

PRESIDENT LOCAL 376