Listening is an important part of any union election campaign.
Even if I was re-elected by an overwhelming margin, this doesn’t mean that all of you were totally satisfied.
When I spoke with many of you, I learned you are pleased with your new contract and confident that the local was being run in an efficient and trustworthy way. You expressed trust in the local’s ability to take on management to enforce the contract.
But you wanted to see more day-to-day visits to the job sites. So, our Business Agents will be on the job sites more often. Yes, I know that confidencemust be earned, and you are right; the only way is to be out there physically. Computers are excellent, but there is no substitute for face-to-face discussions.
It is most important that those who prefer anonymity can air their concerns in private. The BA’s must earn this trust, and the only way is to be out there with the members.
Negotiating an agreement is only the first step. What is agreed upon must be enforced. It makes no sense to stand firm at the negotiating table if the contract provisions are going to be ignored. Without trust between the members and staff, this might happen.
I was listening to your comments. I recently held a Business Agents meeting and instructed the staff to give the highest priority to visits to the job sites. I want you to get to know them, learn to trust them more, be able to confide in them and assist them in enforcing your contract.
Local 399 Business Agents have a difficult job. They answer calls from members, confer on problems, investigate complaints and file grievances. Most of their efforts are in confrontational situations. But they do the job and for the most part do it well. It is up to you to help them serve you better, especially when they visit your job site. Remember, we are a team, the Brotherhood of Teamsters.
If there is an issue that you want to bring to my attention please call me directly. I am always available to take your calls personally.