As I prepare this report and we are slated for the 28th Sector Conference in Pittsburgh, I am reminded that 2017 marks 30 years since we merged with CWA as the Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector.
We all have seen quite a lot of changes in those 30-years; some for the good, some for the not so good, and maybe everything in between. One thing is for sure however, and that is that time goes by faster than any of us would have imagined.
Brothers and Sisters, I look forward to seeing everyone this year at the Sector Conference and working together to have a successful one. Please make it a priority to attend not only our Conference, but your district meeting and the CWA Convention.
Each delegate is sent to these meetings to perform certain duties on behalf of their members and we must continue to hold that duty in high regard. Whether or not this is your first Conference or you have been to other Conferences over the years, please honor the privilege that has been bestowed upon you, and use this time to help further the goals and the future of your Union by fully participating in all the meetings. You are the voice of your membership and we want their voices to be heard.
Included with this report is the financial health and audit of the Sector’s funds, collective bargaining briefs around the Sector, and a brief summary of the Negotiated Pension Plan (NPP). I am honored and humbled to supply all of you with my annual report of the Sector for your consideration.
The Sector’s finances are in a good, stable position. The closing of the Segregated Fund is complete, pursuant to delegate action taken at the 2013 Sector Conference, and the remaining funds were transferred into the General Fund. This will be the last audit that the Segregated Fund will have a notation.
As of May 31, 2016, we had total assets of $5,107,432; which is a net change/reduction of $129,660 from May 31, 2015. This shows that our investment strategy is still working for us when we had total expenses of $190,625.
Please look at the accompanying audit report that was performed by Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn, P.A., and we will continue to monitor our investments and make any changes if warranted.
Collective Bargaining Briefs Around the Sector
Both the Pittsburgh Mailers and Pittsburgh Typographical Locals are in negotiations with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for successor agreements. These negotiations cover five collective bargaining agreements and we have a separate accompanying article on their negotiations.
After nearly a year of negotiations, the Buffalo Mailers M-81 reached a new three-year agreement with the Buffalo News. The contract, which covers Journeymen A mailers, Journeymen B mailers, and part-time helpers, was ratified by the membership on November 6.
CWA Local 1170 continues their fight with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Even though the Union has been able to get the company to back off of some insane proposals, the company continues to press to lower the minimum manning number by 50 percent, and are seeking more flexibility in scheduling. In addition, they have barely offered any wage increase. This fight will to continue until a fair agreement is reached.
St. Louis Mailers #3/CWA 14620 reached a three-year agreement with Dow Jones in Highland. The contract calls for a two percent wage increase each year of the contract. It also calls for a shoe allowance, reimbursing employees up to $100 with one-time payment through the term of the agreement. The contract also included NPP language similar to what is in place at other Dow Jones papers.
Washington Mailers Local 14201/ M-29 and the Washington Post ratified a new collective bargaining agreement in 2016. The new two-year agreement runs through February 8, 2018.
New York Typographical Union 14156 signed a new agreement with Smith Edwards through November 2017 that includes wage increases. The wage increase will be 0.5 percent above the CPI, with a minimum two percent (2%) increase, but not to exceed 3.5 percent.
Detroit Typographical Union 18/CWA 14503 reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Detroit Media Partnership, a Gannett-owned joint operating agreement covering The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.
St. Louis and other Sector groups around the country are fighting for a minimum wage of $15 an hour including CWA 4250/ CTU 16. In recent negotiations with the Alliance Printers and Publishers, Inc., CWA 4250/CTU16 editorial department employees secured a tentative agreement that will set the starting wage at $15.00 an hour and ensure other increases across-the-board.
The leaders of our locals along with the Sector staff continue to be at the forefront of representing the membership and addressing the challenges we are faced with in securing successor agreements.
Contract negotiations and enforcement of what has been agreed to have always been pivotal in representing the membership. Each year we process numerous grievances, most of which are settled prior to an arbitration hearing taking place. Why? Because our employers know that once our locals file for arbitration, they have the full backing of the Sector and we are fully prepared to take it before an arbitrator. This applies significant pressure to the employers and generally gives them a desire to try and settle.
Remember, unlike many other unions, the Sector pays all costs of arbitration and legal assistance that are approved by the Sector in advance. Employers cannot drain the finances of the local unions’ treasury so they can no longer enforce their contractual rights; instead, each local has the strength of the International behind them, not only in contract enforcement, but in contract negotiations.
Negotiated Pension Plan
The trustees are scheduled to meet March 12-14 and a comprehensive report will be supplied at the Sector Conference. At the September 2016 Board Meeting, the Trustees decided to interview new actuarie for the Plan. The Board held interviews in November to replace Segal Company.
On December 19, 2016, the Board members voted unanimously to replace the current actuary, Segal Company, with Cheiron beginning in 2017. Cheiron is an actuarial company with offices in New York City and Washington, DC.
Tax Form 1099R’s for 2016 were mailed to 19,401 pensioners and beneficiaries on January 13, 2017, and the Annual Pension Statements were mailed to active participants in February.
As a reminder and if you need to contact the NPP, the Plan office moved in May 2016. Their contact information is:
CWA/ITU Negotiated Pension Plan
1323 Aeroplaza Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
Phone: (719) 473-3862
Fax: (719) 473-3134
In closing, Sisters and Brothers, our Local leaders, the membership and staff of this Sector have made tremendous strides over the past year. We have improved all facets of representation and organizing and have set the ground work for building a stronger labor movement.
I want to thank each and every one of you for all of the hard work you do, day-in and day-out, in representing the members of this Sector. I also want to thank the Sector staff for their hard work and dedication. It is together that we have made a difference for our members, and I am not only humbled, but honored to be part of this great family.