Brothers and Sisters,
Prior to your vote this Thursday on the Companys offer, and deciding on whether or not to open up our existing Contract and Ratify the Company's proposed Contract Concessions; there are some things you need to know:
- The Membership of both Locals 952 and 1558 took a 10% pay cut across the board, in 2005 when Boeing sold the division to Spirit. We later in 2007, received $30,000.00 in cash and in March of 2008 we received 1034 Shares of Spirit Stock, which, made up for some, but not all, of the cut in pay. Pay cuts, like raises, last forever.
- In our 2010-2020 Contract Negotiations with Spirit, both Locals bargained for and won an increase in the $0.25 cents per hour automatic progression raise, by shortening the interval from every 13 weeks to 12 weeks. That little increase makes a striking difference, in both how fast you progress, and how much money you put in your pocket along the way there.
- In 2010, the Company pitched to both Locals that our 10 year Contract, was essentially a 7 year and 2 month contract, with 10 years of protection; Because of our economic opener scheduled for February 2018. In that opener, per Article 24, the Company is barred from offering Economic Concessions to the memberships. So, the Memberships of both Locals reluctantly Ratified an agreement longer than we wanted at the time, with not much in the form of raises for those topped out, but a newly revised auto progression improvement for those receiving them that has been worth millions to the memberships. The Company had demanded the 10 year duration and rolled it into their Best and Final Offer to us.
- In 2015, the Company approached both Locals and attempted to get the union to agree to the Yellow, Green, Blue and Orange health care plans. After much discussion, the union declined the Company offer and declined to bring it to the membership for a vote, to open the Contract and to Ratify acceptance of those health care plans. We declined the Company offerings because they were Concessionary and because we already had two good plans, the Enhanced and the Premier. We lost the Core plan in 2011, due to low population numbers, which had reached 10% and per the 2010-2020 Contract, the Core was eliminated. It had become unaffordable for most of the members.
- In 2016, the Company, all officers from both Locals and Officers from the UAW International Union signed a REAFFIRMATION AMENDMENT, per Article 24 of our Contract. This amendment states that all parties agree that the stated terms and conditions of our contract remain in effect until 2020, other than those changes that may arise from the non-concessionary economic opener in February 2018.
- The Company has attempted to get our agreement to Implement the four new plans several times since 2015 and nothing has changed. We still see them as concessionary, in relation to our current bargained plans. The last time the Company approached us regarding these plans was early this year. We again declined and this time they decided run over the union and offer the four new plans, along with our existing 2 plans. They also offered seperate vision, which, according to what we bargained in 2010 and the Summary Plan Descriptions, is to be furnished to us at no extra cost when we purchase the health. The Company, also offered extra options for vision and dental, which were not per contract. Too many plans dilutes what we live by on health care. The utilization rates. Small participation in any one plan will drive up costs drastically, as evidenced by the demise of our once great Core Plan.
- Prior to Memorial Day 2017, and unknown to the Local unions, Company top officers approached the UAW International union with some form of the proposal you will see on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017. We understand now that those parties worked on the proposal all Memorial weekend.
- On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the posted an invite to a Business Update, a telephone Conference with the Company and the union in Tulsa. Bargaining Chairperson, Mike Haskins was out of the plant on union business, but Ernie Russell attended the meeting by phone. In this meeting, which was not a normal Business Update, as the Company presented their offer for the Contract changes you will see on June 7 and 8, 2017.
- On Thursday, June 1, 2017, another meeting was held in Tulsa, with the Local 952 union officers and Ernie Russell in attendance, to go over the Company proposal from the day before.
- At 8:30 AM, June 1, 2017, UAW Local 1558 Bargaining Chairperson Mike Haskins, asked the Locals Vice-President Paul White, to call an emergency E-Board meeting in conjunction with the in-plant bargaining committee, to review the Company Proposal and to obtain the E-Boards permission to engage the Company in bargaining over their proposal to open the contract and to possibly present changes to the Membership for Ratification, which would lock in those New Terms and Conditions until 2025 and eliminate the February 2018 Economic opener of the contract.
- At the E-Board meeting described above, after review and discussion of the Company proposal, UAW Local 1558 Executive Board Members present, voted unaminously not to present the Company proposal to the membership of Local 1558.
- Later that same day, we in McAlester, learned that UAW Local 952 was in process of posting RATIFICATION Notices in the Tulsa Plant. Towards the end of first shift that day, Local 1558 President Ernest Russell began posting RATIFICATION Notices in the McAlester Plant; citing that we had to, since Tulsa was posting them, otherwise Local 1558 Membership would have no voice and no vote in the matter.
- On Friday, June 2nd, 2017 Union Reps from both locals met with the Company, in an attempt to fully understand the Company proposal that was now about to be presented to both Locals for possible Ratification.
That brings us to where we are now. You need to know, that these contract changes, if approved, are concessionary take aways, both in Health Care plans (MONEY) and in the Automatic Progression structure (MONEY) reverting back to 25 years ago, at $0.25 cents per hour, every 26 weeks, instead of the current 12 week intervals that made this Contract so good for Members starting out, progressing towards top of their classification wage rate.
One of the Company presenters of the Companys pitch to all of the membership was the chief negotiator for the Company for our 2010-2020 Contract. Read Article 24 of your Contract. The Promises made to us that the Company would not offer concessions in the 2018 Economic opener are in that Article.
One of the Company presenters of the Company pitch to all of the membership signed the REAFFIRMATION AMENDMENT to our 2010-2020 Contract. That Amendment, what the parties committed to, is also found in Article 24 of your Contract. In January, the Company committed to grow Oklahoma, in meetings with the union leadership. This was committed to under the terms of our current Contract. But then, once again, the union would not accept concessions regarding acceptance of the four new health plans, designed to eliminate the Enhanced and Premier Plans. Next, we get this offer forced upon us, and lo and behold, there is no Enhanced and Premier Plan in their offer. An offer of concessions, with some sugar cubes to entice various groups of Members.
All we had to do as your elected union Representatives was JUST SAY NO! And in 8 short months from now, we would be in our No Concessions, Economic Opener. You see, we already took our lickin in 2010. If the Company, at that point, opened up their books to us, upon our financial information request; and upon good cause shown by them, I have no doubt we could work something out. We always have... I have personally worked with my then President, along with 952's, in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003-2004, 2005 and 2010.
In Solidarity, Mike Haskins, Bargaining Chairperson, UAW Local 1558 from 1991 to 2017. Benefits since 1985.